Alimony can be an important part of a divorce when one spouse has remained at home to care for the household or children or has helped contribute to the career or education of the other spouse and has remained a non-wage earning or lower wage-earning spouse because of one of those situations. The spouse that may be required to pay alimony may object so it is important for spouses on both sides of the issue to understand how alimony is awarded.

When couples divorce, there are many issues to sort out and alimony is oftentimes one of them. Different types of alimony may be awarded based on different factors and for different lengths of time. Alimony may be intended to help the lower-wage earning or non-wage earning spouse obtain the skills and training necessary to be able to support themselves or it may be awarded to maintain the same or similar standard of living as before the divorce.

Alimony is determined based on a variety of factors including the age, physical condition, emotional condition and financial condition of the spouses; the length of time the spouse receiving alimony would need to obtain the training or education necessary to be self-sufficient; the standard of living enjoyed by the couple during the marriage; the length of the marriage; and the ability of the former spouse who will be paying alimony to pay and still support themselves.

The factors used to determine alimony can vary by situation or jurisdiction so it is important for divorcing spouses to be familiar with the alimony laws in their state. Understanding the basics of alimony can help divorcing couples through the process as they resolve their divorce-related issues, alimony concerns among them.