If you get divorced and the court orders you to pay alimony, you may find yourself questioning their decision. The relationship is over. Why should you have to pay money — even on a temporary basis — to someone to whom you’re no longer married?
It’s a common question, and it’s important to consider why alimony exists and what it is supposed to accomplish. Remember, the court is less concerned with your relationship or how you feel about it and more concerned with everyone’s well-being during and after the divorce.
In the most general sense, alimony is designed to offset unfair economic effects that stem from the end of the marriage. The court understands that the divorce may be far harder on one person than the other. Thus, it can order the payments to even things out and avoid a financial hardship.
For instance, perhaps you have always held a high-paying job. You met your spouse when they were in college. After they graduated, you immediately got married and decided to start a family. You made enough money that they never had to work, so they stayed home with the kids and you provided for the family financially.
But that was 20 years ago. The kids are now out of the house, but your spouse has still never worked. It’s going to be hard for them to start a career at this point, so alimony ensures that they have some support.
As always, the financial side of any divorce is incredibly important, so it is imperative that you understand exactly what legal options you have.