Alimony, or spousal support can be a temporary or permanent award to one spouse following a divorce. Because the roles between each spouse vary often during the course of a marriage, each spouse may not be on the same "playing field" following a divorce when each spouse must live on his or her own.
The courts recognize this potential disadvantage. For example, if one spouse stayed home to maintain household chores while the other spouse worked, or if one spouse sacrificed his or her career to stay home and care for children from the marriage, that spouse would be at a severe disadvantage when having to re-enter the workforce following significant time away.
The courts will consider several factors when making their decision on alimony. They will look at the personal factors including the age, emotional state and physical condition of each spouse. They will also consider how long it would be necessary for a spouse to re-enter the workforce following the necessary training or education to restart a career. And the courts will also look at financial factors such the current financial state of the spouses and the standard of living of the couple while married.
Due to potential financial hurdles one may face following a divorce, such as living on one's own and trying to maintain a similar standard of living without sharing the previous income of a now ex-spouse, if you believe you may be entitled to alimony, it may be in your best interest to speak with a family law professional to learn the best way to proceed. The decision to seek alimony may prove to be very helpful financially as you adjust and move on with your life after a divorce.
Source: findlaw.com, "Spousal Support (Alimony) Basics," Accessed Feb. 13, 2017