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Alimony Laws

What is Alimony?


Alimony is a court ordered payment by one spouse to another for support or maintenance either during divorce proceedings or after the divorce is finalized. Alimony is also known as spousal support or spousal maintenance.

Are you struggling to make your alimony payments? Or is your spouse failing to make theirs? Talking to a local attorney might help you learn your rights in this situation. Fill out the form below to get connected with a local divorce attorney now.

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What are the Types of Alimony?

Divorce laws, and subsequently alimony laws, are based on local state laws. As a result, each state has its own unique laws regarding alimony. A local attorney can help you learn what the exact law is in your state.

In general, there are four types of alimony:

Temporary Alimony: Temporary alimony is just what it sounds like, payments from one spouse to the other for a temporary length of time. The length of time is dependent on many factors, but can be just the period of litigation to one or two years after the divorce. It is used to help the other spouse become financially self-sufficient.

Permanent Alimony: The courts are typically more reluctant to award permanent alimony because of the burden it places on the spouse making the payments. Typically, permanent alimony lasts from the time of the judgment until either the death of one of the former spouses, or the marriage of the recipient spouse.

Lump Sum Alimony: This form of alimony gets all of the payments done in one instance. It can be seen as a positive in some cases because it helps to completely end any relationship between the former spouses early, rather than leave the potential for recurring problems of regular alimony payments.

Rehabilitative Alimony: This is the most common form of alimony granted. It is typically granted to a spouse to acquire education and skills to begin earning and find a career, and lasts until that spouse can support himself or herself.

What Factors might a Judge Consider in Determining Alimony?

There are many factors that a judge will consider when determining how much alimony, if any, to grant, and what form the alimony should come in. Many of these factors are determined by the laws in your state.  A local divorce attorney might be able to help you identify what factors will affect you in your divorce.

Factors that a judge may take into account may include, but are not limited to:

  • Ability of the Supportive Spouse To Pay
  • Ability of the Recipient Spouse to Earn
  • Standard of Living During the Marriage
  • Length of the Marriage
  • Tax Consequences of the Alimony
  • Debts of Each Party and Shared Debts
  • Professional Degrees or Licenses

There is no one factor that will be determinative in all alimony cases. Each state and each judge will look at different factors, and compare them differently. If you would like help with your divorce, then talking to a local attorney might help you.

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