Many Texans who have gone through a divorce have probably had to deal with this much-hated term: alimony. In the past, men were typically the breadwinners, which meant they would have to pay alimony to the ex-wives at the end of a marriage in order to allow them to live on their own. Now, however, the times have changed and in many cases, both spouses are equal earners or the woman earns more than the man. Although some spouses may need alimony to support themselves, the term is still so offensive to many people for various reasons.
Alimony allows one spouse to continue living the lifestyle he or she was accustomed to during the marriage, while the one paying the alimony must often downgrade his or her lifestyle in order to make the monthly payment. This can be offensive to the one paying the alimony, especially when the spouse receiving the alimony seems to be unmotivated and unwilling to work. It can also be infuriating to be forced to pay alimony to an ex, only to see him or her living with a new love.
Each state has different laws when it comes to alimony. Texas does allow permanent alimony in cases where the ex-spouse has a disability that prevents him or her from finding gainful employment. In other cases, though, the maximum period of time alimony is paid is three years, with a cap at 20 percent of gross income. Some states force spouses to pay more, especially in the cases of high net worth divorces.
While alimony does not seem fair to those who are forced to pay it, it's often needed for those who have spent the marriage caring for children or who have little skills or education. Alimony can help provide support and training so that ex-spouses can eventually become self-sufficient.
The Huffington Post, "Is Alimony Offensive to Today's Modern Woman or Modern Man?" Diane L. Danois, Nov. 04, 2013