As you work out the details of your divorce and start planning for the future, you might begin to wonder how long you will be able to receive alimony. However, there is no one correct answer to this question. Either the spouses can come to an agreement, or the court can decide based on the facts of the marriage.
How the court determines alimony
Alimony is financial support paid to a spouse who may be unable to sustain themselves after a divorce. For example, if you’ve been out of the workforce for a while and depended on your spouse during your marriage, you may be a candidate for alimony.
If your partner is on board, you can decide the amount or duration together based on how much you need and their capacity to pay. Formalizing the agreement between the two of you can save you a lot of time and money compared to leaving the decision up to the court.
However, if you are unable to reach an agreement, the court will make a decision based on the specifics of your marriage. The length of the marriage is usually the most important factor. A longer marriage often entails a longer duration of payments.
However, since every divorce is unique, the court also has other factors to consider before awarding alimony, such as:
- The financial status of both parties
- The ability of each spouse to find employment
- The age, physical and emotional condition of each spouse
- The contribution of each party to the marriage
Once the court has made a decision, the amount and period will be stated in the divorce order. Despite this, certain conditions may result in the early termination of alimony payments.
In most cases, your ability to receive alimony terminates if you remarry, begin living with another romantic partner (cohabitation), or either party passes on. There are always a few exceptions, but generally speaking, each of these scenarios might prevent you from collecting alimony payments before the term ends.
Reaching a decision may be difficult for you or the judge. A lawyer may help you determine a reasonable amount and duration of alimony payments. They may also represent you and fight for your interests in court.