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Alimony, also known as spousal support or maintenance, is a court-sanctioned financial obligation to support a spouse after separation or divorce. Factors that may determine alimony are:

  • Cause of separation or divorce;
  • Spouses’ age, health and income;
  • Length of marriage.

Alimony Versus Child Support

Alimony is often confused with child support, another type of financial obligation established after a separation or divorce. Child support involves one parent financially contributing to the welfare of a child who is living with the other parent. While alimony is treated as income for the spouse receiving it and is subject to taxation, child support is not. Child support is considered a necessary financial obligation for the noncustodial parent and has consequences if support is withdrawn or avoided. If alimony payments are not made, recourse is similar to collecting a debt and follows standard collection procedures.

Last updated: Sept. 26, 2008

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