Alimony, also termed as maintenance or spousal support and spousal maintenance, is a kind of legal obligation upon someone to give financial support to her or his spouse at or after their separation or divorce. It is provided to support the livelihood of the other spouse and for allowing him or her to live independently.
To whom alimony is payable?
Traditionally, alimony was payable by husband to his ex wife, but after 1970 the trend has changed in many Western countries to gender equality. It is now recognized that a husband is also entitled to get alimony from his ex wife.
In India, at present, courts have recognized the view that husbands are eligible to get alimony. The obligation arises from the family laws existing in the country.
Factors considered by courts while granting alimony:
The courts in general take into consideration the following factors while granting an order of alimony, whether in favor of the wife or the husband:
- Duration of the marriage;
- Period of separation;
- Age of the parties during the separation;
- Comparative income of both the parties;
- Financial prospects of the parties that might arise in future;
- Health conditions of both the parties;
- Cause of the breakdown of marriage:
- Number and age of the children.
Who are breadwinners in the breakdown of marriages?
The number of men is growing who are presently the winners at the time of breakdown of a marriage. This new trend is becoming more popular with time. Today more than 35% of working women are paying alimony to their husbands. Though having economic power is an advantage, it can prove to be disadvantageous to women too. Many women are being ordered by courts to pay maintenance to their ex-husbands.
Changing role of women:
A few decades before it used to be always the husband’s liability to pay alimony, the wife’s role was to stay back at home to bring up the kids and to run the household. They used to let the husband work hard and earn a lot. But today couples maximized their efficiency by dividing the labor which helped both of them to get success in their own fields. When marriages fail, alimony gives a legal and economic recognition to the sacrifices made by a spouse who has relatively lower income and to provide the welfare of the family. Where the woman is the main earning member, the man is often entitled to get alimony.
Impact of liability to pay alimony upon women:
Women though fond of deriving all possible benefits from their progress, are not at all interested to accept the painful consequences of their development. They like many men hate writing a check every month or paying a lump sum at the time of divorce.