Known as “spousal maintenance” in some states, alimony can be awarded to a husband or wife. Alimony refers to court-ordered payments awarded to a spouse or former spouse within a separation or divorce agreement. The reason behind it is to provide financial support to the spouse who makes a lower income, or in some cases, no income at all. For example, in cases when there are children involved, the man has historically been the breadwinner, and the woman may have given up a career to raise the kids and will be at a financial disadvantage after a separation or a divorce. The laws in many states dictate that a divorced spouse has the right to live the same quality of life they previously had when married.