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in law, allowance for support that an individual pays to his or her former spouse, usually as part of a divorce settlement. It is based on the common lawcommon law,
system of law that prevails in England and in countries colonized by England. The name is derived from the medieval theory that the law administered by the king's courts represented the common custom of the realm, as opposed to the custom of local jurisdiction that
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 right of a wife to be supported by her husband, but in the United States, the Supreme Court in 1979 removed its limitation to husbands, to account for cases in which the wife is wealthier. Alimony is distinct from child support, which is the duty of both mother and father to contribute, based on ability to pay, to the support of minor children. Temporary alimony is allowed pending the outcome of a suit for divorcedivorce,
partial or total dissolution of a marriage by the judgment of a court. Partial dissolution is a divorce "from bed and board," a decree of judicial separation, leaving the parties officially married while forbidding cohabitation.
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 or separationseparation,
in law, either the voluntary agreement of husband and wife to live apart or a partial dissolution of the marriage relation by court order. The marriage bond remains, and remarriage of either party is criminal.
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, or for a decree of nullity of marriagenullity of marriage,
in law, an unlawful marriage that is either void or voidable because of conditions existing at the time of the marriage. A bigamous or incestuous marriage, for example, is void, and there is no need to bring a suit to obtain a decree declaring it void.
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, whether initiated by husband or wife; permanent alimony may be granted after a divorce has taken effect. In contemporary law, alimony is generally awarded only in cases where one spouse is unable to support himself or herself. Such cases are not common: recent figures show that some 90% of U.S. divorces are free of alimony requirements. Alimony ceases on the death of the individual liable; it is not payable out of his or her estate. Remarriage of the individual collecting alimony does not necessarily terminate payments, but the amount may be reduced or the court may cut them off if the recipient's new spouse can support him or her adequately. In all cases the need for and amount of alimony are questions that can be reopened at any time in a court having jurisdiction over the parties. A decree awarding alimony is a court order issued personally, and enforced by contemptcontempt,
in law, interference with the functioning of a legislature or court. In its narrow and more usual sense, contempt refers to the despising of the authority, justice, or dignity of a court.
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 of court sanctions. Today, alimony is often called "maintenance." In cases of extended cohabitation, so-called palimony sometimes may be awarded.



money that some members of the family must pay, in situations specified by law, to other members of the family who are in need of it. Soviet law determines the persons who have the right to alimony, the persons who are obligated to pay it, its amount, and the date it must be paid. Thus, minors and, in some cases, disabled adult members of a family are entitled to alimony. Minors must be supported in the first place by the parents (or adoptive parents). If the parents are dead or lack sufficient means, the law provides that other members of the family must support the children—the child’s grandparents, his adult brothers or sisters, or the stepparents. Disabled and needy adults must be supported in the first place by their spouses, if they have sufficient means, or by their adult children or parents; if these persons are unavailable, this duty is imposed on other members of the family—grandchildren, stepchildren, and so forth.

The amounts established by law for child support are one-fourth of the parents’ total earnings (income) for the support of one child, one-third for two children, and one-half for three or more children. Courts may reduce these amounts if the collection of such alimony deprives other minor children of the same parent of equal material benefits, if the parent required to pay the alimony is an invalid of the first or second group, or if the children work and earn a sufficient salary. Courts may also reduce the amount of alimony or relieve parents from paying it if the children are wards of the state or a public organization. The monthly amount of alimony for the support of minor children, collected from other persons, as well as alimony for the support of disabled adults, regardless of who has to pay, is determined by the court based on the financial position of the person required to pay the alimony and on the need of the person who has the right to the alimony. Alimony for the support of children is paid until they reach majority, that is, 18 years of age. Adults receiving alimony for support lose their right to it if the circumstances that originally necessitated it no longer exist. For instance, alimony for the support of children paid by persons other than the parents is suspended if the parents become able to support their children; the alimony to an adult is suspended if it is established that he is able to work; and so forth.

If a person refuses to pay alimony voluntarily, it is collected through the court. Plaintiffs in alimony suits are granted several procedural privileges; they are relieved of paying state taxes, they can file the suit at court, according to the defendant’s or plaintiffs place of residence, and given other privileges. The court’s decision on collecting alimony is subject to immediate execution, even before it legally enters into force.

Legislation of socialist countries establishes an order of priorities in charging members of a family with paying alimony (for instance, in Bulgaria) or provides that relatives in descending line (progeny) have priority in the right to alimony over relatives in ascending line (ancestors), and that relatives in ascending line have priority over brothers and sisters (for example, in Poland).

In most bourgeois states (Britain, France, and others), legislation provides for the right to alimony for the support of legitimate children if the parents are divorced or separated. Parents also have the right to collect alimony. The amount of alimony is not regulated by legislation, but is determined by the courts.


“Osnovy zakonodatel’stva Soiuza SSR i soiuznykh respublik o brake i sem’e.” Vedomosti Verkhovnogo Soveta SSSR, 1968, no. 27, art. 241.


Law (formerly) an allowance paid under a court order by one spouse to another when they are separated but not divorced
References in periodicals archive ?
Section 15.2(6) (d) of the Divorce Act says spousal support should, "in so far as practicable, promote the economic self-sufficiency of each spouse within a reasonable period of time." Payors often argue that recipients must do more to make their own way in the world.
The aim in this study was to examine the interplay of certain personal, socioeconomic, and demographic characteristics and perceptions of spousal support.
What are the factors that influence the extent to which women who have been denied spousal support and child support gain access to fair, effective and accountable redress at the Islamic court of Cianjur?
The Spousal Support Scale (SSS; Chang 1989) consists of a 13-item, five-point Likert-type scale (one strongly disagree to five strongly agree) designed to measure spousal support behaviour for women with hysterectomies.
[H.sub.2]: Spousal support will be negatively related to work-family conflict.
The current study investigated the mediating effect of spousal support on marital satisfaction and general well-being in differing marriage types as well as differing parental status.
We examined the possibility that spousal support for exercise may influence the health status and quality of life in regularly exercising individuals.
Software products include DissoMaster, for calculating child or spousal support, Executioner, for calculating interest on unpaid support and attorneys fees, and Propertizer, for calculating asset division.
Ideally, specific planning would have addressed, among others, the issues of who is going to own/run the business, spousal support, and estimated estate tax and funding plan.
(2) On September 6, 1989, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court promulgated new Rules of Civil Procedure which established the Uniform Support Guidelines (3) and mandated that temporary spousal support and child support be determined in accordance with the guidelines unless a deviation was warranted.
And in a show of spousal support, Daniels' wife Bonnie Bartlett and Gilbert's husband Bruce Boxleitner are in, too.
for spousal support pursuant to the Ontario Family Law Act, although section 29 of the Act stipulated that the support provisions in the law applied only to married and common-law spouses.