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This lesson reviews the general law of alimony. It focuses on the differences between alimony and property distribution; the gender implications, justifications, eligibility, amount and duration of alimony; and the forms of alimony.

This lesson does not discuss modification of alimony, which is covered in the CALI lesson on Modification of Alimony and Child Support. Nor does this lesson discuss the ALI's recommendations on spousal support, which are covered in the CALI lesson on Compensatory Spousal Payments under the American Law Institute's Principles of the Law of Family Dissolution.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the lesson, the student will be able to:

  1. Explain that the law of alimony is very state specific and very dependent on trial court discretion.
  2. Identify general rules and principles of alimony.
  3. Distinguish traditional laws, modern trends, and majority and minority views in awarding alimony.
  4. Discuss the important distinctions between alimony and property division.
  5. Analyze questions of eligibility for alimony and the alimony factors relevant to calculating an appropriate value and duration of an alimony award.
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