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SmartAsset: How long does alimony last?

Divorce is obviously a difficult chapter in everyone’s life. In addition to clarifying personal matters, dealing with the financial consequences of a divorce is often chaotic. Whether you’re paying or receiving alimony, understanding how long the alimony lasts is a top priority. And the answer is that it depends on the details of your divorce, but it can last a few months, several years or until the death of either partner.

As you unravel the finances of the divorce, consider working with a financial advisor to create a financial plan for your new goals and priorities.

What is alimony?

When a marriage ends in divorce, alimony is an option on the table. Alimony is essentially a court-ordered financial support paid periodically to one ex-spouse to another.

Although it is an option for spouses to divorce, it is not very common. And it’s getting less and less common over time. According to Reuters, alimony was the result of 25% of divorce cases in the 1960s, but only 10% in 2015.

Typically, alimony is only an option if you have relied on your spouse for financial support, do not have access to sufficient assets to fund your needs, are unable to support yourself through work, or due to of care are unable to support themselves through work a child.

How long does alimony last?

SmartAsset: How long does alimony last?

SmartAsset: How long does alimony last?

The length of alimony depends heavily on the details of your divorce and your state’s laws. Depending on the situation, child support payments can fall into one of these categories:

Temporary maintenance: With this type of alimony, the funds could be needed during the divorce proceedings. However, the payments end when the divorce is finalized.

Permanent or long-term maintenance: In this case, one ex-spouse would pay alimony to the other until the receiving spouse dies, retires, or remarries.

rehabilitation maintenance: Rehabilitation maintenance has a fixed end date. The goal is to ensure that a spouse has enough time to get back on their feet. With this, the most common form of modern alimony, you know the end date when the divorce proceedings are complete.

The story goes on

Child support reimbursement: If one spouse has made an investment in the other spouse’s business or education, the alimony payment can serve as payback to the victim. For example, if a couple divorces after a husband graduates from college at his wife’s expense, he may have to repay her investment in his future.

The deadlines for alimony payments vary. But these time limits should give you an idea of ​​what kind of obligation the court can order.

Which factors influence the maintenance period?

In addition to the type of maintenance, there are a few other factors that affect the duration of this financial obligation. Some of the most important factors are:

State Laws. When it comes to divorce, it depends on where you live. For example, in the state of Florida, alimony payments may not exceed the duration of the marriage. But that may not be the case in other states.

length of marriage. A longer marriage tends to result in longer alimony than a shorter marriage. Most courts consider more than 20 years a long marriage.

employability. If one spouse was the main breadwinner while the other was responsible for household chores, this can affect child support obligations. For example, the breadwinner may need to support their ex-spouse while they acquire the skills they need to support themselves.

parental roles. If a spouse is the primary caregiver for a child, this can affect child support payments. However, child support also comes into play.

standard of living. The amount of the maintenance payment depends on the standard of living that the former spouses enjoyed during the marriage. Higher expenses often lead to higher maintenance obligations.

Mistake. Some courts will consider why the marriage is ending. For example, if one spouse cheats on the other, that could affect child support payments.

financial resources. What each party sees is important. If both parties emerge from the divorce with sufficient assets to support themselves, there is usually no need for alimony.

bottom line

SmartAsset: How long does alimony last?

SmartAsset: How long does alimony last?

Child support can be a significant part of a divorced person’s budget. Whether or not alimony payments are required as part of a divorce settlement depends heavily on the individual situation. In addition, the amount depends on the details of the divorce. Either way, it’s wise to create a plan for how these child support payments will affect your finances.

Financial tips for marriage and divorce

  • Going through a divorce is a major shock to your finances. It might be time to enlist the help of a financial advisor while you work through the financial implications. SmartAsset’s free tool puts you in touch with up to three financial advisors operating in your area and you can interview your matching advisors for free to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, start now.

  • Still in the early stages of marriage or unmarried? A pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement provides a way to protect your assets.

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