The term 'alimony' has its origin in the Latin word 'Alimonia', meaning sustenance. Generally speaking alimony means an allowance or amount which a court orders the husband to pay to the wife for her sustenance.
Similarly, the law on alimony and maintenance also varies from personal law to personal law. For example, under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, both the husband and wife are legally entitled to claim permanent alimony and maintenance. However, if the couple marries under the Special Marriage Act, 1954, only the wife is entitled to claim permanent alimony and maintenance.