How Long Do I have to Pay Alimony?

The amount of alimony paid is referred to as spousal support. The court determines the length of time and the amount of money that one spouse needs to pay to the other spouse. Alimony is given to help give the spouse that made less money during the marriage retain the lifestyle they were used to while married. If you or a loved one has any questions regarding alimony, contact experienced family lawyers Phoenix AZ trusts to ensure that you are clear on your payments.


There are several types of alimony and they will differ by state. The court may award one type or a combination of several types of alimony. To understand how long you have to pay alimony, you need to understand the different types. Here are some of the types of alimony awarded:


Temporary Alimony


The judge will order this type of alimony to be paid while the divorce is in progress. When the court determines the final judgment, temporary alimony will be replaced by permanent alimony.


Permanent Alimony


This alimony normally continues until the spouse receiving the alimony remarries or one of the spouses dies.


Reimbursement Alimony


If the receiving spouse borrows money from the other ex-spouse for something such as college or specialized training, and as a result of that education the spouse?s earning power has increased, the receiving spouse may have to pay back the money spent on the tuition or training.


Rehabilitative Alimony


This alimony can endure for as long as it is necessary for the receiving spouse to financially recover and become self-supporting.




This is similar to reimbursement alimony as financial support is awarded for a specific period of time so that the receiving spouse can learn a skill or get the education necessary to increase earning potential and become more employable.


How Long Will You Have to Pay Alimony?


Usually alimony is paid on a monthly basis but it can be paid in one lump sum. Just how long you have to pay is based on how the court sets up the alimony. It can be negotiated between you and your ex-spouse or the court can determine the length of time. But usually alimony is paid until the receiving spouse gets remarried or if one of the spouses pass away.


A judge will also take into consideration how long you were married to determine the amount of time you will have to pay alimony. ?The longer you were married, the longer the alimony will usually need to be paid. There are different sets of criteria for each state to be sure to consult with a family law attorney to learn what the rules are inyour state.


For example, if you were just married a short period of time, alimony will have a limited time limit — if it is given at all. In some state, if you are married longer than ten years, you will be paying alimony indefinitely, unless the the court modifies the alimony. This can be done for the following reasons:


  • The recipient?s needs change
  • The ex-spouse?s ability to pay the alimony
  • The age of each spouse
  • Health factors for each spouse
  • Career opportunities that one spouse gave up because of the marriage



Work with your attorney if you need to change the alimony agreement based upon any of the factors listed.



Thank you to Hildebrand Law for providing insight on alimony and payment.

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*Mark L. Scroggins is *board-certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Unless otherwise noted, other attorneys are not *board-certified.

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