Alimony – a Great Myth


There is an old myth that a divorced woman is entitled to get alimony from her ex –husband. It is the husband alone who is bound to be financially responsible to support his wife even after they break up.
Alimony as defined: Alimony also known as maintenance in Britain and spousal support in U.S. is the monthly allowance given commonly to a wife either during subsistence of marriage or at the time of divorce. When it is paid during pendency of divorce proceedings it is termed as alimony pendent lite.When it is paid as a lump sum at the time of divorce it is called permanent alimony.
Kinds of alimony: There are many types of alimony a person is entitled to like temporary alimony, permanent alimony, rehabilitative alimony, reimbursement alimony, etc.
Factors affecting alimony: Amongst many others duration of marriage, financial capacity of spouses, living standards of spouse’s etc. act as factors affecting alimony.
Alimony- present scenario: Today alimony is granted to a wife as a support while she has opportunity to become financially independent. In case of a stay-at home-parent who gave up her career to raise the children has a right to get alimony.

At present divorce laws are changing with the passing of time. Women are becoming more and more independent. They are aiming at “standing at own feet’’. Now-a-days a divorced husband is also entitled to get alimony from his wife who is financially sound. Presently there are judges who direct a divorced wife to find an employment for herself in cases where it is the husband who is unemployed and does not have the capacity to maintain his wife. Though in such cases the judge also asks the husband to find a job but that is not always possible.
The law prevailing in every country differs in opinion regarding granting of alimony. It is no longer a case that a woman is always entitled to alimony in case of a long term divorce. Presently Nations are reforming their alimony laws to meet the socio-economic conditions of their citizens.
After the development of no-fault divorce laws alimony concepts have changed. Now it is granted without taking into consideration the marital misconduct.
In reality the spouse having higher income is generally ordered to maintain the spouse having lower income. But once a spouse waives his rights to receive maintenance, it cannot be re-asserted.
Involuntary changes in circumstances of the paying spouse normally reduce the quantum of alimony. If a spouse or parent is intentionally unemployed, alimony is determined based on his capacity to earn.