ALIMONY, in law, the allowance awarded out of her husband's estate, to which a wife is entitled on separation or divorce. Jurisdiction in this matter in England rested with the ec clesiastical court until 1857, when it was con ferred upon a court of divorce. In the United States it is vested in the courts of equity. Alimony may be granted by the court during litigation, in which case it is known as pendente lite (during the suit) ; or at the conclusion of the suit, when it is called permanent. The former enables the wife to pursue the litigation, whether proceedings have been brought by or against her. The amount granted lies within the discretion of the court and depends upon a variety of considerations, and isgoverned by no fixed rules. The ability of the husband to pay is of most importance in determining the amount, and in estimating his ability his entire income will be taken into consideration, wheth er derived from his property or his personal exertions. So far as any general rule can be drawn from the decisions and practice of the courts, the proportion of the joint income to be awarded for permanent alimony is said to range from one-half to one-third, while in case of alimony pending suit it is not usual to allow more than one-fifth, and usually a smaller pro portion will be allowed out of a large estate than out of a small one. Permanent alimony is
a periodical allowance awarded to the wife if the termination of the suit is favorable to her. By a writ of ne exeat (let him not depart) the court can prevent the husband from leaving the State without leaving sufficient security for pay ment. The writ of ne exeat has been expressly abolished in many of the States of the Union, but its place has been filled in almost every instance by a similar procedure. In New York a system of arrest and bail has been substituted for the writ. If the husband should remove to another State the wife can enforce her claim in the Federal courts. See MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE.