‘Alimony’ is a legal obligation in which one spouse makes regular payments to the other spouse—former or current. Payments are normally issued in cases where one spouse earns a higher income than the other. When a married couple becomes legally separated or divorced, both parties can agree to the conditions of alimony on their own.
However, after failing to come into agreement the court may deem it fit to determine the legal obligation or alimony for one individual to provide financial support to the other.
Years past divorce in Ghanaian society, wives had no entitlement and had to succumb to the principle that divorced women had no share in the property whether they contributed to its development or not.
However, in most divorce proceedings in Ghana, husbands usually pay financial provisions or alimony to wives.
The financial provision or alimony is known as compensation for the divorce/breakdown of the marriage. In some exceptional cases, the court may not order financial provisions or may order the wife to pay the husband.
This happens only when the wife has been involved in any form of adulterous or engaged in some other similar extreme act and in other jurisdictions where the wife earns a greater income than the husband.
Courts will weigh multiple factors when deciding questions of alimony. These include the supporting spouse’s ability to pay, the length of the marriage, and the time it will take the supported spouse to achieve economic self-sufficiency.
Meanwhile, if the parties ( couples) fail to compromise on the alimony, the Court will have to impose a figure. However, the Court always considers the earning capacity and financial responsibilities or status of the husband before imposing a particular figure as alimony.
That notwithstanding, there is another consideration from another point of view which is the number of years the couples or partners are married with the involvement of children and other conditions attached.
A private legal practitioner Lawyer Kwabena Boateng also a Lecturer at Akenten Appiah Menka University of Skills Training and Entrepreneurial Development (AAMUSTED) has also admitted that at some point the law also requires the wife to pay ‘alimony’ to the husband.
According to him, there is another point from the court of law that will ensure the affordability of the alimony on the part of the husband taking into consideration the sufficiency of the compensation given to the wife if it’s enough for her.
For instance, the alimony that the ex-wife of a police officer or a public servant will get will be different from that of a carpentry worker because their situations are different.
In conclusion, the court will impose a figure if the parties fail to agree on the amount to be paid as alimony.
By: Nana Freduah Agyemang Derrick