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Alimony Law


Alimony law governs the spousal support payments that one spouse pays to the other during and after divorce. Alimony payments are made completely independent of child support or other financial divorce settlements, such as property distribution. Typically, divorce courts order the spouse with a higher income to make alimony payments to the spouse with a lower or no income.

Alimony payments may also be referred to as spousal support or spousal maintenance payments in some states. Divorce laws in your state have different statutes about the type, amount, factors considered and length of alimony payments. In some states, the divorce court may take fault into account. Other states factor the length of the marriage and earning capacity of each spouse.

Divorce courts in some states may remain reluctant to order alimony payments or may allow only for temporary alimony payments.

Types of Alimony

State alimony laws and guidelines dictate which type of alimony payments a spouse may receive.

  • Temporary alimony is paid while the divorce process is ongoing. This type of alimony is also called pendente lite.
  • Permanent alimony refers to indefinite alimony payments, paid until one of the spouses dies or the alimony recipient gets remarried.
  • Rehabilitation alimony is paid to help the spouse receiving alimony get on his or her feet so that he or she may support themselves.
  • Reimbursement alimony may be ordered by the court when one spouse has a duty to repay some type of debt to the other.
  • Lump-sum alimony refers to the payment of all alimony due at one time, rather than in monthly installments.

The terminology differs from state to state. In some states, rehabilitative alimony may be referred to as temporary maintenance. A divorce lawyer in your area can help you understand the alimony laws in your state and how your payments may be affected.

Considerations under Alimony Law

Alimony laws can be complex and alimony guidelines may take many situations and factors into consideration. Alimony guidelines vary from state to state due to differing alimony laws, but some things that may impact an alimony award include:

  • Length of marriage
  • Factors causing the divorce, such as adultery or abuse
  • Age
  • Earning potential
  • Dependency
  • Medical issues
  • Impact of other obligations, such as child support and child custody, on the income of a spouse
  • Education and career development expenses
  • Other factors may also impact alimony awards

Alimony law can depend on the circumstances of your divorce. Connect with a divorce lawyer to learn about alimony law and what you may be entitled to receive or obligated to pay. Fill out a divorce case review form or call 877-349-1310 to set up a preliminary consultation today. Work with a local divorce attorney to protect your financial future.

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The above synopsis of alimony law 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.