Alimony, also referred to as spousal support, is money one spouse is court ordered to give the other spouse for a period of time, following a divorce. There are four types of alimony: general term, rehabilitative, reimbursement, and transitional.
General term alimony is regular payments from the ex-spouse. This type of alimony is awarded when the recipient is financially dependent on the former spouse.
Rehabilitative alimony is regular payments from an ex-spouse for a specified period of time, with the expectation that the recipient will be able to eventually support himself or herself financially.
Reimbursement alimony is regular payments or a one-time payment, after a short-term marriage (no more than 5 years), to make up for costs paid by the ex-spouse to help the paying spouse, such as bearing the financial burden while the paying spouse finished their education.
Similar to reimbursement alimony, Transitional alimony is regular payments or a one time payment, after a short-term marriage (no longer than 5 years), for the purpose of helping the recipient to settle into a new lifestyle or location as a result of the divorce.
The length of time an ex-spouse is ordered to pay alimony is contingent on the length of the marriage. If the marriage lasted under five (5) years, alimony payments last for 50% of the length of the marriage. For example, if alimony were awarded after three years of marriage (36 months), the recipient would receive no more than 18 months of payments. If the marriage lasted more than five years but less than ten years, the length of alimony payments can be no more than 60% of the length of the marriage. If the marriage lasted more than ten years but less than fifteen years, the length of alimony payments can be no more than 70% of the length of the marriage. If the marriage lasted more than fifteen years but less than twenty years, the length of alimony payments can be no more than 80% of the length of the marriage. However, if the marriage lasted longer than twenty years, the court can award alimony for any fair amount of time.
If the paying spouse suffers a material change in circumstances and can no longer pay the order alimony amount, the spouse can file a request with the court to modify the payments. Payments may also stop if the recipient remarries or the paying spouse reaches the age of retirement.
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