Purpose of alimony
Alimony are periodic payments from a spouse to their former spouse. This support is intended to give the recipient spouse the opportunity to become self-supporting. Alimony decisions are not based upon a spouse’s gender.
Alimony is usually awarded before the marriage’s end. A spouse may not claim alimony after divorce.
Courts are usually bound by any alimony agreements that the spouses executed by the spouses. Spouses may agree to more generous terms than a court would award. Courts, for example, will award periodic payments while spouses can agree to payments that cover a mortgage or provide other support.
Types of alimony
Courts can grant three types of alimony. Alimony pendente lite may be awarded between the time a spouse files for divorce and requests alimony and until the divorce is final. Its purpose is to keep the status quo when divorce is pending. Alimony, however, may not be awarded after divorce if there is a finding of need.
Rehabilitative alimony is the most usual support that is awarded. It is linked to a time-limited goal such as completing education. This support usually has an average range of 3 to 10 years if a spouse’s situation matches its criteria.
Indefinite alimony is usually granted when a spouse cannot be self-supporting because of their age, illness, or disability. For this alimony, the recipient spouse cannot make progress toward achieving self-support or that spouse can reach that goal and there is still an unfair difference in the living standards between the divorced spouses.
Indefinite alimony is rarely granted and has no specified end. Awards may be modified, lengthened, changed or ended if a spouse asks for modification and the court finds that there are changed circumstances.
Factors in determining alimony
Courts will consider the marriage length, the spouse’s financial situation, the reasons for the divorce and the recipient spouse’s age and physical and mental health. Amounts depend on the facts of each situation.
Other factors include:
- The recipient spouses’ ability to be self-supporting.
- The time required to gain education or training for finding suitable employment.
- The standard of living during marriage.
- The marriage length.
- Each spouse’s financial and other contributions to the marriage.
- The circumstances that led to the spouses’ separation.
- The spouses’ age and physical and mental condition.
- Each spouse’s financial needs and resources.
Courts will enforce alimony payments. It ends when a spouse dies, the recipient remarries, or termination is necessary for fairness.
Attorneys can seek reasonable support. They can protect your interests in hearings and negotiations.