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Why would a court award alimony?

Not every judge will order alimony in every divorce. It is an option, but not a mandatory requirement to finalize a divorce decree.

Alimony is money that one spouse pays to the other. It can happen during the divorce, after it or both during and after. Unless there is a pre or post-nuptial agreement, the awarding of alimony is often up to the description of the judge.

Reasons for alimony

The main reason why a judge would award alimony is to provide financial assistance to one spouse. The assistance may be to help the person through the divorce process or after until he or she can become financially stable.

Sometimes, an award is not about stability but about maintaining the lifestyle the person had during the marriage. This is often the case in high-asset situations where one spouse is by far more financially well-off than the other, which would lead to a drastic change in lifestyle after the divorce without support.

How alimony helps

Receiving alimony can avoid having one spouse living in poverty while the other is financially secure. It can make the finances after the divorce fairer and ensure that a spouse who had stayed home with the children or helped support the other spouse to get an education is not left without anything to show for his or her contribution to the marriage. It also can help ensure each spouse is able to retain assets and afford to continue with the divorce process.

Alimony payments often have an end date, and they will end if the spouse receiving payments remarries.