During your divorce, the judge may decide that you must pay support to your former spouse. Sometimes called alimony, spousal support is money to help your former spouse if he or she is in a financial position that does not allow for self-supporting.
The court will outline the details of the support payments, including how long you must pay and how you will pay. There are a couple of options the court may use.
Lump sum payment
Sometimes, the judge will decide that you must pay a one-time lump sum to your former spouse. The payment may be all money or it could also include property. In any case, when the judge decides on a gross payment, you must do it all at one time. Typically, this will happen at the end of the divorce proceedings.
Payments over time
The judge may also decide you need to provide support for your former spouse and require you to make payments over time. Similar to child support, this arrangement means each month, you will have to make a payment to your former spouse. The court will set the amount for each payment and inform you of how long you must pay. With the payment setup, you will continue to pay until you or your former spouse dies unless otherwise specified in the order from the court.
Spousal support is a legal obligation. If the court order you to pay, you must do it. However, you may also have the option to seek a modification if circumstances change.