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Alimony must either be agreed upon, fought for in court or passed upon.  Alimony is never automatic. It is not a “free ride” but intended to help the more needy spouse survive financially.  The amount and duration of alimony can vary greatly. If one needs alimony to survive and it cannot be agreed upon (and it MUST be in writing and made part of the filed divorce papers), one must fight for it in an expensive contested divorce or stay married and go to court to obtain spousal support.

Tactics can also play a role in alimony.  For example, the person who wants the divorce more may have to pass on alimony or accept a smaller amount to become divorced sooner and/or less expensively.  Once again, in a case where the spouse who might be found liable to pay alimony has a truly substantial income and the other party a much lower (or no) income, a lawyer should be consulted before giving up on it.  

Alternatively, if the person wanting the divorce more has the greater income (by a significant amount), alimony may have to be offered, and perhaps in a generous amount, in exchange for marital freedom.