Alimony – a husband’s or wife’s court-ordered provision for a spouse after separation or divorce. (OED)

3 notes: (1) “Typically,” a husband pays regular amounts of $ to an ex- or separated wife until she remarries. But the sexism here was shot down in 1979 by the U.S. Supreme Court, and everything varies greatly state by state. (2) We are advocating nothing here, just supplying info.  (3) Data here, except where indicated, come from Belinda Luscombe’s “The End of Alimony” that appeared in the May 27, 2013 issue of Time.


• In Kansas alimony is limited to 10 years and one month.

• In Texas alimony didn’t start until 1995.

• In Utah the duration of alimony cannot exceed the length of the marriage except in unusual circumstances.


For more there’s the DOOR.




Why think about this? The issue of alimony, which about 420,000 Americans receive, is a factor that’s not helping troubled marriages and is encouraging the unwed, or once-wed, from ever marrying even when bearing children. And according to a U. S. Census Report on 2011 data (by the AP cited in the Binghamton Press, June 1, 2013), “of the 4,100,000 women who’d given birth in 2011, 36% were unmarried…an increase from 31% in 2005. and among the mothers 20-24, the percentage of unmarried was 62%.”

Of course alimony is just one of many factors here. But big changes are brewing, says Luscombe who refers to the Florida chapter of the Second Wives Club–women who feel their husbands have to pay their ex’s too much for too long.  According to  Arizona State University law professor Mark Ellman: “Alimony is the most unstable area of family law.”

Some more unusual info:

• In Massachusetts until alimony reforms were passed in 2011, the only type of alimony was permanent alimony.

• In New Jersey behavior that “shocks the conscience” can be considered in lessening or increasing an alimony award.

• Concern about alimony goes back as far as the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi of 1772 BC.