12th Oct 2014

See New Divorce Laws Effective January 1, 2018 for more information.

Alimony or Spousal Support are generally payments from one spouse to the other. Alimony can be waived or agreed upon by the parties as to the type and amount. However, if the parties can not reach an agreement, the court may make a determination of the amount of alimony to be awarded. The court has wide discretion in awarding alimony.

Types of Alimony

Alimony in Gross

This is effectively a property distribution. For more information, see our article on Division of Assets, Debts, and Retirement Accounts in a Divorce

Temporary Alimony During Divorce Proceedings (Alimony pendent lite)

If a divorce is pending in the court, the court may make an allowance for the support of one spouse out of the estate of the other spouse. This can be based on the spouse’s estate (that has requested alimony) and the condition in life of the parties.

Permanent alimony

This is an award for regular payments to a spouse for an indefinite amount of time. This type of alimony can be modified if there are significant changes in the future, and generally terminates upon the petition of a party to the decree and proof that the spouse receiving such alimony has remarried or that such spouse is living openly or cohabiting with a member of the opposite sex. Payments of permanent alimony are deductible from the income of the payor and taxable income of the receiving party.

Permanent alimony is usually ordered in long-term marriages where one spouse has become financially dependent on the other spouse.

Rehabilitative alimony

This type of alimony is granted for a specific period, and is designed to allow the receiving spouse time to complete school or find employment to support themselves. This provides for the financial recovery of the receiving spouse instead of receiving permanent alimony or resulting in a reduced amount of permanent alimony.

Alimony can be ordered to be paid in a lump sum or in periodic payments.

No matter what your divorce or alimony issue, you should discuss your options with a qualified divorce lawyer to protect your rights.


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