When she has brought up her children, a portion of all that is given to the children, equal as that of one son, shall be given to her. The modern concept of alimony is derived from English ecclesiastical courts that awarded alimony in cases of separation and divorce.
Alimony pendente lite was given until the divorce decree, based on the husband's duty to support the wife during a marriage that still continued.
One who allows his or her alimony obligations to go into arrears, where there is an ability to pay, may be found in contempt of court and be sent to jail.
Some state statutes, including those of Texas, Montana, Kansas, Utah, Kentucky and Maine, give explicit guidelines to judges on the amount and/or duration of alimony.
In the 1970s, the United States Supreme Court ruled against gender bias in alimony awards and, according to the U. Census Bureau, the percentage of alimony recipients who are male rose from 2.4% in 2001 to 3.6% in 2006.