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When is alimony a factor in divorce?

On Behalf of | Dec 10, 2020 | Divorce |

Alimony (also known as spousal support) isn’t a factor in every divorce, but it’s something to consider if you’re preparing to go down this path.

Should alimony come into play, you could find yourself on either end of the equation. You’ll either owe payments to your ex-spouse every month or you’ll receive them. Either way, it’s sure to affect your finances.

Understanding alimony

The purpose of alimony is to reduce the economic impact of alimony on a low wage earning or non-wage earning individual.

For example, if you were a stay-at-home parent while your spouse worked, you didn’t earn an income during your marriage. Subsequently, should you divorce, you’re at a financial disadvantage. This could lead the court to require your ex to make temporary or permanent alimony payments.

How much alimony is paid?

This varies based on a variety of factors, including but not limited to:

  • The financial condition of your ex-spouse
  • The age, mental and physical well-being of both individuals
  • Your standard of living during your marriage
  • The amount of time you would need to secure a career that allows you to become financially self-sufficient
  • The length of the marriage
  • The ability for the person paying alimony to maintain payments

Does alimony last forever?

It’s a common misconception that a court order for alimony lasts forever. While it’s possible that one person will make alimony payments to their ex for the rest of their life, this doesn’t always hold true.

For example, if the person receiving alimony remarries, payments aren’t likely to continue in the future. The same holds true if this person secures a job that allows them to care for him- or herself.

As you prepare for the divorce process, don’t lose sight of the many details associated with alimony.

If you think you should receive alimony, take steps to protect your legal rights. Conversely, if you have reason to believe you may owe spousal support, look into what you can do to minimize the impact on your finances.


Regardless of what side of the aisle you’re on, understanding alimony and its impact on your future is critical.