You might not want to pay alimony, and you might even feel it’s unfair. However, as much as the people who pay alimony don’t tend to like it, there’s a reason why it continues to exist.

Alimony prevents people from being trapped in sad, toxic, abusive and unfortunate marriages due to financial concerns.

What is the reasoning behind alimony?

Before alimony existed, a less-moneyed spouse who didn’t have the means to earn a living independently would be forced to endure a bad marriage for the purpose of maintaining financial security. In the past, women often lacked education and income-earning job skills. All of their skills tended to apply to maintaining a house and home. These women, if they left a bad relationship, wouldn’t have a way of supporting their children or themselves and they could essentially become homeless or lose everything.

Alimony flips the script by allowing spouses to receive money — usually temporarily — which serves as a bridge so they can pay for their food, housing, and education and job training for as long as is necessary for them to become financially independent. Essentially, alimony is intended to serve as a bridge toward financial security for recipients, so they can independently earn their own income and live at a level that is close to and/or comparative to the quality of life they enjoyed while they were married.

How much will the alimony be and for how long?

Ultimately, the family law court will determine the length and size of alimony payments based on the amount of education required by the recipient to become independent, the amount of time required by the recipient to become independent, in addition to other factors. These other factors include how long the couple was married. The longer the marriage, the higher and longer the alimony payments tend to be.

Protecting your legal rights in court

Whether you’re the alimony payer or the alimony recipient, you may have legal options available that could assist in defending your rights. Some spouses successfully argue against their need to pay alimony, whereas other spouses argue for their right to receive it by employing various family law strategies in court.