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Difference between Alimony and Spousal Support

Difference between Alimony and Spousal Support

What Exactly is the Difference Between Alimony and Spousal Support? Many individuals are unaware of the distinction between these two types of financial assistance to a spouse or former spouse. The purpose of this article is to explore the key distinctions between alimony and spousal support payments, with a focus on how each is taxed. Read on to learn more!

What is Alimony?

Alimony, also known as spousal support, is a financial payment made from one ex-spouse to the other following a divorce. Alimony is typically paid on a monthly basis and is intended to help the receiving spouse maintain their standard of living. The number of alimony payments and the duration of payments will vary depending on factors such as the length of the marriage, each spouse’s earning capacity, and whether there are minor children. In some cases, alimony may be paid in a lump sum. Alimony payments can be modified or terminated if there is a significant change in circumstances, such as remarriage or retirement.

What is Spousal Support?

Spousal support is money that one spouse pays to the other after separation or divorce. The purpose of spousal support is to recognize the contribution that each spouse has made to the relationship, and to help the spouse with less income become financially independent. Spousal support is not meant to punish a spouse for any wrongdoing during the marriage. Instead, it is meant to help the spouses transition to their new lives after separation or divorce.

Spousal support can be ordered by a court, or it can be negotiated by the spouses as part of their separation agreement. In either case, spousal support is typically paid on a monthly basis and can be ordered for a set period of time or indefinitely. If you are considering separating or divorcing your spouse, you should speak with a lawyer to learn more about your rights and obligations with respect to spousal support.

Difference between Alimony and Spousal Support

Alimony and spousal support are often used interchangeably, but they actually refer to two different things. Alimony is a payment made from one ex-spouse to another in order to support them financially after a divorce. This can be ordered by a court or agreed upon by both parties. Spousal support, on the other hand, is similar to alimony but is typically only paid during the divorce process itself. It is designed to help one spouse cover the costs of the divorce, such as attorney’s fees, and is usually only paid for a short period of time.


Alimony and spousal support are two different concepts with different purposes. If you’re considering divorce and need to know the difference between alimony and spousal support, or if you’re already divorced and need to apply for either of these payments, our blog can help. Keep reading to learn more about the definitions of each term, when they might be applicable, and how to go about getting the financial help you need.

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