DEFINITION of 'Alimony Payment'

A periodic pre-determined sum awarded to a spouse or former spouse following a separation or divorce. Alimony is an obligation to make payments for support or maintenance; an alimony payment is the actual sum paid to fulfill the obligation. A decree or court order outlines the alimony payment structure and requirements.

BREAKING DOWN 'Alimony Payment'

When a married couple becomes legally separated or divorced, a court may determine the legal obligation of one of the individuals to provide money to the other to provide the type of financial support to which he or she has become accustomed to throughout the life of the marriage. In the United States, the Internal Revenue Service permits alimony payments to be deductible by the payer, and requires the recipient to include the alimony payments as income. Child support payments are separate from alimony payments.

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