Difference Between Alimony and Spousal Support (With Table)

Alimony is the amount of money given to your partner while the divorce gets final. Spousal Support is the recognition of your partner’s effort and their role in the marriage. Both these terms refer to the same thing with minute differences.

 Alimony vs Spousal Support

The main difference between Alimony and Spousal Support is that Alimony refers to the money given by the partner through a legal order of the court. On the other hand, Spousal Support is the financial form of support given after separation.

The alimony amount is always subject to a tax deduction. This means the payer is liable to pay a tax on the sum of money given to their former spouse. It also means that the receiving partner has to pay his or her share of taxes on the total amount. This type of support can be mutually agreed upon or decided by the court of law.

Spousal Support system varies from case to case. Normally it comes after the separation period when the divorce is in process. The financial support depends on the decision taken by the separated spouses or couples. Therefore Spousal support is subject to analysis in several cases.

Comparison Table Between Alimony and Spousal Support

Parameters of comparisonAlimony Spousal Support
The receiverThe unemployed spouse in the marriage is the recipientThe partner who has completed five years in the marriage
MeaningThe amount of money given to the respective spouse during divorce completionFinancial support to acknowledge the efforts of the partner
TypeAlimony can be categorized as separation or rehabilitativeSpousal support can be categorized as permanent or temporary
DurationThe duration of Alimony is dependent on the judgmentThe duration of Spousal Support is dependent on the marriage period
ChangesChanges can be made according to the court orderChanges are made after assessing the situation

What is Alimony?

Alimony can simply be described as the financial support given to the spouse after or during the termination of a marriage. It is a crucial amount of monetary support for the unemployed spouse in the marriage. Alimony is also given to the spouse who had a lower net income in the marriage.

The process of deciding the alimony amount goes through various steps. Firstly, the court will decide the beneficiary partner. Then it will deduct the necessary sum from the net amount. This can include taxes, health care, and educational charges. Afterward, the final alimony amount will be assigned to the partner in marriage.

Alimony can be assigned or given to either of the spouses. This means that both the husband and wife can become the beneficiary. However, the spouse with the kids will receive the larger sum as they have to look for their growth. Therefore, it is a vital factor in alimony payment.

Alimony is helpful for the partner who was not employed by any means during the marriage. This can be due to his or her complete dedication to the family and their respective sacrifices. Therefore, it is an important and much-needed form of support for them.

What is Spousal Support?

Spousal support can be described as the monetary sum given to the wife or husband during the settlement of divorce. However, in some cases, it can be given after the divorce as well. This type of support is of different types and varies according to the cases, judgment or order.

Spousal support is usually given monthly to either of the spouses. The period of support usually extends to the complete life period of the husband or wife. However, based on the judgment of the court of law, several revisions can be made in the future.

The amount of financial support is decided after a mutually agreed agreement is made and signed. Anything decided before the formulation of the official agreement is not considered. If the recipient spouse dies before the completion, then the support stops. Apart from that, there are many rules and regulations related to spousal support.

Spousal support is beneficial for the spouse that needs monetary help. In complicated cases of divorces, the process can take a more than expected time to get completed. This is why spousal support helps them to sustain their living and handle finances during the separation period.

Main Differences Between Alimony and Spousal Support

  1. Alimony is the financial support given to the spouse while the separation gets final whereas Spousal Support is the acknowledgment of one’s role in the marriage.
  2. Alimony is given to the spouse who has been unemployed during the marriage while a partner gets qualified for spousal support after five years of marriage.
  3. Alimony can be stopped after the orders of court whereas spousal can undergo revisions in the future related to the judgment.
  4. The alimony period is dependent on the completion of the divorce process and the financial needs of the partner whereas Spousal support is entirely dependent on the mutual agreement of the spouses.
  5. Alimony has different types like separation alimony or reimbursement alimony whereas Spousal support is permanent or temporary.


Both Alimony and Spousal support can be used interchangeably with a minute difference. Based on the separation period, type, and divorce settlement, these terms have an equally distinct meaning. The former can be associated with financial support while the latter as an intent of acknowledgment.

Alimony is extremely crucial for the partner who has been out of work or earned less. It helps them to get a hold of their finances while the divorce gets final. This can be a form of reimbursement or rehabilitative support.

Spousal Support is generally given to acknowledge the role of the spouse in marriage. The spouse who has completed five years of marriage qualifies for this amount of support. It is vital for their financial development and assists them to lead an independent life. This type of support can undergo different changes in the future with a mutual agreement.


  1. https://heinonline.org/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/jaaml21&section=7
  2. https://heinonline.org/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/djglp19&section=5