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Alimony Awards in Divorce


Divorce laws in your state may now refer to alimony as spousal maintenance or spousal support. Alimony laws governing the amount and duration of alimony awards vary from state to state.

In some states, permanent maintenance may be awarded. Other states assign alimony awards that are limited to short term, rehabilitative payments that help a spouse with little or no income attend school or rejoin the workforce after divorce.

Maintenance is typically determined based on the economic circumstances of the parties and the ability of each to be self-supporting, without reference to who was at fault for the divorce.

How Maintenance Is Calculated

Factors the divorce courts rely on in granting alimony awards may include:

  • Income and property, including:
    • Needs
    • Present and future earning capacity
    • Loss of earnings or earning capacity
  • Time required to obtain appropriate education, training and employment
  • Standard of living established during the marriage
  • Length of marriage
  • Age and health
  • Contribution by the spouse seeking maintenance to the education, training, career, career potential or license of the other spouse
  • Any existing valid marital agreement
  • Other relevant factors

In some states, maintenance will terminate if the recipient remarries.

In a few states, the parties can agree on a lump-sum payment instead of monthly alimony payments. A lump-sum alimony payment typically benefits both parties. It allows a single transaction that does away with the need for continued contact, administration and follow-up; however, there are some risks to a lump-sum payment.

If you are the receiving spouse and your circumstances change, you may not have the right to ask the court for an additional alimony. You might also face tax consequences if you receive alimony in a lump-sum.

Learn about Your State's Alimony Law with a Divorce Attorney

Learn more about your right to alimony by connecting with a divorce lawyer near you. Call 877-349-1310 or fill out a divorce case review form to set up a preliminary consultation. Work on protecting your financial future after divorce with help from a local divorce attorney.

Case Evaluation

The above synopsis of alimony is by no means all-inclusive and is not intended to provide legal advice. These laws may have changed since our last update and there may be additional laws that apply in your situation. For the latest information on these divorce laws, please contact a local divorce lawyer in your area.

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