Spousal support, or alimony as it is commonly known, is provided by one spouse to support another in the event that a marriage ends. If one spouse makes significantly more than the other, he or she may be required to pay support. Alimony is designed to ensure that the supported spouse is able to maintain the standard of living they enjoyed prior to the divorce. Support can be either temporary or permanent, depending on the length of the marriage and the earning potential of each spouse. For assistance in understanding more about how alimony works, when spousal support is appropriate and how alimony payments are calculated, refer to the articles and answers to frequently asked questions in this section.