What is Alimony vs. Spousal Support? “Spousal support” and “Alimony,” they may go by different names, but they mean the same thing. It’s basically just financial support that is given to the spouse who is either financially unstable or unemployable. Spousal support or alimony allows the lower-wage-earning spouse to maintain the same standard of living that they had while married. Additional reasons alimony may be awarded are: It can help the lower-earning spouse to obtain a new degree or a specialized training to become financially independent or to raise their earning capacity. It can give the lower-earning spouse short-term assistance.