Whether alimony is based upon need or greed depends on the individual situation. Society as a whole hasno problem with asking for chid support, even from a person who is unable to support themselves, and yet, put the name alimony on it, and suddenly, it becomes a crime even to ask for it. The fact is that alimony should replace child support. If alimony were to be used to help a woman who is unable to support herself and provide for her children immediately following divorce, this would be better for everybody, especially the children. The fight over the children would no longer be about money if alimony were what was asked for instead of child support, and the best interests of the children would be more likely to be served.
When a couple separates, generally, one parent is the custodial parent, and the other is the non-custodial parent. The non-custodial parent is ordered by the court to pay child support. If the custodial parent is the mother and the father is the breadwinner, this works out about the same as alimony would. However, this is not always the case. Some men, especially abusive men, will take custody away from the mother and accuse her of all sorts of things that are untrue in order to get out of paying child support. If their wives have stayed at home with their children, these women are faced not only with the problem of trying to get back into the workforce, or in some cases just starting out in the workforce, but they also have child support payments to make. These women are behind before they even get started and are usually paying a person who makes significantly more income than they do. If alimony were assessed instead of child support, this would close that loophole, making it less desirable for abusive men to have custody of their children, as they would have to pay regardless of whether or not their ex wives got custody.
Alimony is not appropriate where there are no children involved. It is not appropriate where both partners are working and making either equal or close to equal amounts. It is not appropriate for short term marriages. It should not be for life. Alimony payments should not last more than five years, as that is long enough for a bachelor’s degree under most circumstances. It should also not continue after the receiving party remarries, even if that marriage is a same sex union. When it continues or is asked for under these circumstances, it does constitute greed, and should not be allowed. Alimony should only be allowed where one spouse or the other has stayed home with the children, or there is a significant discrepancy in income. This would bring more equality into the family court systems, and make it easier on judges who have to rule in these cases, as well as easier on mothers and on good fathers.