Alimony, also called spousal support, refers to provisions made by one spouse to another after a separation or divorce. Alimony is not a requirement for divorce, and nowadays most courts stay away from granting alimony. It is up to the judge, however, to decide whether alimony orders need to be issued or not.
Most cases where alimony orders are issued are either long-term marriages where one spouse earned considerably more than the other or in cases where one spouse left work to care for the household and children. In these situations, the court usually orders that the earning spouse be required to pay alimony to the other lesser-earning or non-earning spouse.
Whether you are the spouse making alimony payments or the recipient spouse, it is important that you keep a keen record of all monthly receipt copies, bank account numbers, check or money order numbers, etc. These records will help you in proving your case should the other spouse decide to challenge you in court. The paying spouse is entitled to tax deductions over the alimony payment they make. For this purpose, it is advisable that you keep all monthly records safe up to a period of at least three years from the date you file a tax return claim over the alimony payments you make. If you are the recipient spouse, you may have to pay taxes over the alimony you receive.
If you are in a divorce and facing alimony issues, it is up to the court to decide if your case is eligible for an alimony grant and if so, when and how it should be granted. If you are already in an alimony situation with your former spouse who has stopped making payments, you should consider approaching a family law attorney who will view all your records and help you fight your case in court.