All you need to know about Spousal Support, Alimony and Palimony

Spousal support, or Alimony, is the maintenance amount paid to the former spouse after divorce. It could be a one-time lump sum payment or a monthly payment for a fixed number of years (term order basis) or until the death of either party (joint lives basis).

Most of the divorced individuals prefer to pay the alimony as a one-time lump sum in order to avoid further financial obligations. The court too would prefer this, if it is possible. Paying a one-time lump sum is called ‘Clean Break’.

Do you qualify for spousal support?

If the marriage had lasted only for a few years, then spousal support may not be possible or even if it is, it will be for a limited number of years – ‘term order’.

But if the couple had been married for many years, providing spousal support is necessary especially if one party is earning significantly higher than the other.

How much and for how long?

There is no set of rules as to how much the spousal support would be or for long must it be paid. It varies from one case to another. It is, in fact, one of the most complex legal issues that can arise in a divorce. So many choose to take expert guidance on the matter.

While making its decision about spousal support, the court generally considers the following

  • Number of years of marriage
  • Age of both parties
  • The income of both parties
  • Present and future financial needs of the recipient
  • Child care needs, if there are children

The spousal support would end if

  • One of the two parties dies or
  • The recipient remarries or enters a civil partnership

One important thing to keep in mind is that spousal support can increase or decrease in the future depending on the financial position of both parties. For example, if the payer loses his/her job, spousal support can decrease.


Palimony is basically alimony for unmarried couples who have been cohabiting. The word is an informal term coined by combining the words ‘pal’ and ‘alimony’.

Since millions of unmarried couples live together nowadays, palimony has become a burning issue in many parts of the world. In most countries, however, palimony is not a real thing since co-habiting is not an arrangement recognised by their law. You need to check with a legal expert in your area to know if palimony is recognised where you live.

Palimony can also be a one-time payment or a monthly payment.

Do you qualify?

To determine whether you qualify and how much palimony must be given, the court would consider the following factors

  • Length of relationship
  • Whether there are any written or oral agreements of financial support
  • Financial needs of the recipient
  • Sacrifices made by the recipient for the relationship or for raising children, if any

Even if palimony is not recognised in your area, be sure that the court will consider a written financial agreement between the couple.

Many couples make a cohabitation agreement to protect themselves financially in case of a break-up. By having the agreement, arrangements can be made to avoid paying palimony or to have it paid. It is best for both parties to have their own solicitors when making the cohabitation agreement.

If you are looking for expert advice from an experienced solicitor to guide you through the legal process, please contact a member at Aristone Solicitors.

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Child and Family Law

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