Simply put, alimony refers to a sum of financial support one spouse pays to the other either during or after the divorce proceedings, or both.
In theory, it exists to balance the economic pitfalls of divorce and hopefully prevent either party of the divorce from suffering from a severe or catastrophic drop in their standard of living. In Rhode Island, there really is no economic formula for computing alimony. 15-5-16 of the Rhode Island General Laws gives the court the road map to follow when determining the amount of alimony, if any, to be awarded. Some of the criteria to be considered by the court are:
- The length of the marriage
- The parties conduct during the marriage
- The health, age, station, occupation, amount and source of income, vocational skills and employability of the parties
- The state and the liabilities and needs of each party
- Plus additional considerations
Also, in Rhode Island, alimony is in many instances awarded on a rehabilitative basis, which means for, "a reasonable length of time to enable the recipient to become financially independent and self-sufficient." But, the court is vested with discretionary power to award alimony for an "indefinite" period of time, which means if the situation calls for it, the court has great latitude.