In divorce, a court may grant alimony to ease the financial challenges that dissolution often brings for the spouse who earns the least amount of money. The amount of spousal support may be based on the capacity of the payer to earn, the financial condition of the spouses and the length of the marriage. Also, cases of alimony may differ by the situation, the people involved and the particular state where the divorce is taking place.
In some instances, alimony is paid temporarily; however, there are some situations where alimony payments may continue for a lifetime. That is called permanent alimony. When Permanent alimony is ordered the supporting spouse is obligated to pay the monthly payments until the other spouse dies.
Some people believe permanent alimony is a relic of the past, designed to address situations in which one spouse dedicated most of their time to caring for the household and the children. However, because family dynamics have evolved over time, reforms regarding permanent alimony may be necessary.
This type of alimony can be a big issue in some divorces because a court may grant permanent alimony without considering the capacity of the support recipient to earn as well. Those spouses who challenge permanent alimony know there are justifiable reasons to grant it, such as disabilities or a medical condition that hinders a spouse from working and earning. Yet, the fact that this kind of alimony can be awarded to a spouse who has a degree and thus has the potential to earn a living, alimony laws may need some reform and amendment.
Source: U.S. News, “Taking the ‘Permanent’ Out of Permanent Alimony,” Geoff Williams, Jan. 23, 2013