Divorce can have a significant impact on a couple’s finances. If your spouse is financially dependent on you, the court may order you to pay alimony, also known as spousal support.
Alimony is usually not a permanent arrangement. How long you pay alimony depends on several factors.
Types of alimony and their time limits
The type of alimony you might have to pay depends on your circumstances.
If your spouse is economically dependent on you, the court may award general term alimony. The duration can range from a few months to indefinite, depending on the length of your marriage.
If your former spouse needs time to become financially stable, the court may award rehabilitative alimony. For example, you might pay rehabilitative alimony until your former spouse completes a job training program. Rehabilitative alimony can last up to five years.
If your spouse contributed time or money to your financial resources, such as caring for your children while you worked or supporting you while you earned a degree, you might have to pay reimbursement alimony. Reimbursement alimony has no time limit.
Transitional alimony helps the recipient adjust to life after divorce by covering some of the expenses associated with the transition, such as relocation costs. Transitional alimony lasts up to three years.
Modifications to alimony payments
In some circumstances, you or your former spouse can request a modification to the amount or duration of alimony payments.
For example, if you are paying general alimony and your former spouse moves in with a new partner, you may be able to have the order modified if your former spouse lives with the new partner for more than three months.
Like all aspects of divorce, alimony is a complex issue that depends on the couple’s unique circumstances.