Am Jur 2d - Divorce and Separation § 571

III. Spousal Support; Alimony and Other Allowances, A. In General, 1. Overview, § 571 - Purpose of alimony

Where two parties have undertaken the obligations implicit in the marriage relationship, it becomes the duty of the courts upon the dissolution of that relationship to ensure that neither is forced to suffer unduly as a consequence of its termination.[1] Thus, in order to reduce the financial impact of a divorce,[2] the court may award alimony, the sole object of which is the provision of food, clothing, habitation, and other necessaries for the support of a spouse.[3]

Definition:

Alimony is an allowance for support and maintenance,[4] or, in other words, a substitute for marital support,[5] that one spouse may be compelled to pay to the other spouse while the parties are living apart or are divorced.[6]

Every provision in a judgment of divorce or separation made solely for support is to be regarded as alimony whether expressly designated as such or not, and irrespective of whether it requires payment of money at intervals or in a gross sum.[7]

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1   In re Marriage of Ikeler, 161 P.3d 663 (Colo. 2007) .
 A major premise of the Divorce Code is to effectuate economic justice between the parties. Lowers v. Lowers, 2006 PA Super 316, 911 A.2d 553 (2006) .

2   Hanaway v. Hanaway, 208 Mich. App. 278, 527 N.W.2d 792 (1995) ; Pyke v. Pyke, 212 Neb. 114, 321 N.W.2d 906 (1982) .

3   Bradley v. Superior Court In and For City and County of San Francisco, 48 Cal. 2d 509, 310 P.2d 634 (1957) ; Bredin v. Bredin, 89 So. 2d 353, 61 A.L.R.2d 942 (Fla. 1956) ; Lindsey v. Lindsey, 546 So. 2d 1332 (La. Ct. App. 3d Cir. 1989) ; Hood v. Hood, 138 Md. 355, 113 A. 895, 15 A.L.R. 774 (1921) ; Bittel v. Bittel, 147 S.W.2d 139 (Mo. Ct. App. 1941) ; Romaine v. Chauncey, 129 N.Y. 566, 29 N.E. 826 (1892) ; Matheson v. McCormac, 186 S.C. 93, 195 S.E. 122 (1938) ; Boudwin v. Boudwin, 162 Wash. 142, 298 P. 337 (1931) ; Brenger v. Brenger, 142 Wis. 26, 125 N.W. 109 (1910) .

4   Simpson v. Superior Court In and For Pima County, 87 Ariz. 350, 351 P.2d 179 (1960) ; Fournier v. Clutton, 146 Mich. 298, 109 N.W. 425 (1906) ; Romaine v. Chauncey, 129 N.Y. 566, 29 N.E. 826 (1892) ; Stanley v. Stanley, 226 N.C. 129, 37 S.E.2d 118 (1946) ; Fowler v. Fowler, 1916 OK 967, 61 Okla. 280, 161 P. 227 (1916) (overruled in part on other grounds by, Johnson v. Johnson, 1957 OK 333, 319 P.2d 1107 (Okla. 1957) ); Toncray v. Toncray, 123 Tenn. 476, 131 S.W. 977 (1910) ; Weihert v. Weihert, 265 Wis. 438, 61 N.W.2d 890 (1953) .

5   Warner v. Warner, 219 Minn. 59, 17 N.W.2d 58 (1944) .

6   In re Spencer, 83 Cal. 460, 23 P. 395 (1890) ; Bredin v. Bredin, 89 So. 2d 353, 61 A.L.R.2d 942 (Fla. 1956) ; Lowry v. Lowry, 170 Ga. 349, 153 S.E. 11, 70 A.L.R. 488 (1930) ; Cole v. Cole, 142 Ill. 19, 31 N.E. 109 (1892) ; Ceiga v. Ceiga, 114 Ind. App. 205, 51 N.E.2d 493 (1943) ; Gibson v. Stiles, 240 S.W.2d 609 (Ky. 1951) ; Hood v. Hood, 138 Md. 355, 113 A. 895, 15 A.L.R. 774 (1921) ; Green v. Green, 49 Neb. 546, 68 N.W. 947 (1896) ; Kennard v. Kennard, 87 N.H. 320, 179 A. 414 (1935) ; Hester v. Hester, 239 N.C. 97, 79 S.E.2d 248 (1953) ; Smith v. Smith, 86 Ohio App. 479, 42 Ohio Op. 113, 56 Ohio L. Abs. 321, 92 N.E.2d 418 (2d Dist. Montgomery County 1949) ; Poloke v. Poloke, 1913 OK 149, 37 Okla. 70, 130 P. 535 (1913) ; Cogswell v. Cogswell, 178 Or. 417, 167 P.2d 324 (1946) ; Gilbert v. Hayward, 37 R.I. 303, 92 A. 625 (1914) ; Alexander v. Alexander, 164 S.C. 466, 162 S.E. 437, 82 A.L.R. 719 (1932) ; Davis v. Davis, 15 Wash. 2d 297, 130 P.2d 355 (1942) ; Closson v. Closson, 30 Wyo. 1, 215 P. 485, 29 A.L.R. 1371 (1923) .
 Alimony cannot be decreed unless the parties are actually separated. Smith v. Smith, 86 Ohio App. 479, 42 Ohio Op. 113, 56 Ohio L. Abs. 321, 92 N.E.2d 418 (2d Dist. Montgomery County 1949) .
 As to questions pertaining to foreign divorce and alimony decrees, see §§ 1103 to 1116 .

7   Boudwin v. Boudwin, 162 Wash. 142, 298 P. 337 (1931) .
 That an award to a spouse under a statute in a divorce suit is for periodic payments, rather than out of the other spouse's estate, does not change its character as alimony. Bielan v. Bielan, 135 Conn. 163, 62 A.2d 664, 9 A.L.R.2d 1019 (1948) .

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