The end of a marriage signals the end of pooling finances together to pay household bills. In some instances, one party will have to pay the other spousal support. While this might not seem like something that should happen, spousal support actually provides a valuable safety net for some individuals.
In some marriages, one spouse stays home to care for the children or the home. This person doesn't have the recent job history that enables him or her to find a job that can provide him or her with the quality of life that he or she is accustomed to. This poses a challenge, but the court can order alimony to help this person to pay necessary bills until he or she is able to get on his or her feet.
There are different types of alimony that the court might order. In some cases, the payments are short-term and meant to bridge a gap between the split and the time it will take the person to find employment. In other cases, the payments will continue unless the recipient gets married again or has a significant other live with them.
The duration of the marriage plays a part in how long these payments will continue. Typically, longer marriages are associated with longer alimony payment schedules. The exception to this might be if the paying party seeks to make a lump sum payment to the recipient so they don't have to worry about more payments. In this case, the single payment must be equal to what normal alimony payments would have totaled.
Alimony payments aren't something that is required in all cases. You should find out how they might apply to your case so you can plan accordingly.
Source: FindLaw, "Spousal Support (Alimony) Basics," accessed May 18, 2018