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Permanent Alimony


When the divorce court awards permanent alimony in a divorce, the award generally continues indefinitely. During the divorce process, the couple can negotiate a permanent alimony award. Alimony could have also been set before marriage in a prenuptial agreement in case of a divorce or during marriage in a postnuptial agreement.

Permanent alimony awards are typically no longer assigned by divorce courts, unless the couple arranges for that type of alimony award in a divorce or marriage agreement. Usually the divorce court awards rehabilitative alimony.

Modifying Permanent Alimony

Although an end date is not specified, it's possible to petition the divorce court to modify alimony if there is a major change in circumstances. Unless otherwise specified in a written agreement between the spouses, the amount of alimony can be altered up or down, depending on changes in the circumstances. This may include a significant raise in pay, inheritance, retirement or lose of job.

Permanent alimony will generally stop when the receiving spouse remarries or either spouse dies. Alimony law in some states may have permanent alimony stop when the receiving spouse cohabitates in a permanent nature, meaning the receiving spouse is sharing living expenses with another person.

Factors Determining Permanent Alimony

The divorce court uses several factors to determine the alimony award amount if it's not already agreed on by the couple. One of the major contributing factors usually used is the length of marriage. Although divorce laws in your state may be different from others, typically divorce courts make some general assumptions for short and long marriages.

In shorter marriages, the divorce court may assume that each spouse probably has the same ability to provide for him or herself as before the marriage. The divorce court figures that each spouse is still independent and able to be self-supporting again within a short period of time.

Longer marriages are usually considered by the divorce court to be five years or longer. Divorce courts are more likely to order extended or permanent alimony for marriage that lasted longer. When determining amount and time for alimony awards, the divorce court usually considers the following:

  • Earning capacity
  • Property division and debt received
  • Age and health
  • Length of the marriage
  • Contribution as a homemaker
  • Contribution to one spouse's education or career

Speak to a Divorce Lawyer about Permanent Alimony

A local divorce lawyer can help you understand the different types of alimony. Learn how alimony laws and circumstances of your divorce could affect how much you pay or receive in alimony. Connect with a divorce attorney near you today by calling 877-349-1310 or filling out a divorce case review form. Protect the stability of your financial future with help from a divorce lawyer.

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The above summary of alimony is by no means all-inclusive and is not legal advice. Laws may have changed since our last update. For the latest information on alimony laws, speak to a local divorce lawyer in your state.