Purpose of Alimony Support


10th February: What is the reason behind alimony support and why should any spouse give spousal support even when the relationship has come to an end?

Lets try and find out answers to these and some other related questions with regard to spousal support.

The court may be awarding spousal support(spousal maintenance or alimony support) after a divorce(for a married couple). So, first of all, we need to know what actually is alimony—


Alimony—Alimony is meant for offering a continuing income to either a non-wage earning spouse or a spouse who is earning lower wages. The aim of alimony is to help limit economic effects of the divorce. So, its nothing but regular payments from one spouse to the other either during or after a divorce. Its purpose is to help the spouse gain financial independence(as much as possible).

Who can get spousal support?—Well, individuals who were married legally can gain spousal support after or during separation or divorce.

In addition, people who have lived together in a relationship that is marriage-like for a minimum of two years and those who have lived together in the same relationship for less than two years but have a child together are also considered spouses.

Meanwhile, the rules for spousal support can differ from one state to other and can depend on the duration of the marriage.

How to get spousal support?--It needs to be noted in this regard that spousal maintenance or spousal support (alimony) can be requested only at the time of divorce and not once the divorce is final.

Married spouses are allowed to ask for spousal support order under provincial Family Law Act as well as federal Divorce Act. Unmarried spouses may ask for spousal support under the Family Law Act.

Factors considered for ordering spousal support by the court

Following factors are taken into consideration by the court for deciding about spousal support-

  • Duration of the relationship;
  • Functions each spouse performed during such a relationship;
  • Financial circumstance of both the spouses(during and after separation);
  • Ability of the spouse to support herself or himself.

As a general rule, if both the spouses happen to be financially independent when they were together or have capability of being independent financially after their separation, then none of the spouse will get entitled for receiving spousal support or alimony after getting separated.

But, in some instances, compensatory spousal support is ordered from a spouse even if he or she is not independent financially.