Alimony payments are made after a couple divorces, often when there is a large discrepancy in income. Alimony is sometimes also referred to as spousal support.
For instance, maybe one person is a high earner, bringing in more than $1 million a year. The other person was a stay-at-home parent before the divorce. They expect to have their financial needs met by their partner and they have no other option for income. Alimony payments can be made so that they have financial stability and do not lose everything in the divorce.
So how long does someone have to pay?
The length of the payments depends on the length of the marriage. If that marriage was less than 20 years long, then the alimony can only be ordered for as long as the marriage itself. For instance, a couple may have been married for 15 years, so the maximum amount of alimony payments would be for the next 15 years.
This does not mean that the maximum amount of payments will always be ordered. The court could certainly order alimony payments for the next five years, if they believed that was fair and just. But the length of the marriage gives them an upper limit and ensures that the payments won’t happen forever.
In cases of longer marriages, which last for 20 years or more, then alimony payments may be made for an extended period of time. Often, this is done because such a long marriage may mean that one spouse was out of the workforce for decades and cannot just go out and immediately get a job once again.
The financial side of divorce
Alimony payments are just one aspect of the financial side of a divorce case. Those involved need to be well aware of their legal options.