Alimony is a payment one spouse (or former spouse) pays to the other either while a divorce is pending or after a marriage has ended.
Types of Alimony
Temporary alimony awarded while a divorce is pending is called alimony “pendente lite.”
Temporary alimony can also be awarded for the period after a divorce is granted. This type of alimony is intended to support a former spouse while he or she finds a job or obtains the training or education needed to get a job.
Permanent alimony is increasingly uncommon. It’s usually awarded to spouses who are unable to find employment and become self-supporting for reasons of age or health.
Alimony may be paid in a lump sum, monthly or bi-weekly, or on any other schedule to which the parties may agree or that the court may order.
Basis for Alimony
In order to award alimony, a court must find that one spouse needs it and the other spouse has the ability to pay it.
In determining whether to award alimony, and the amount, a court will also take into consideration factors like:
- The length of the marriage
- Each spouse’s age, health, and position in life
- Each spouse’s occupation or profession
- Each spouse’s income
- Each spouse’s skills and employability
- Each spouse’s estate (assets) and financial needs
- Child support payments to be made or received by either spouse
- Whether it is better for the children that a parent not work, or not work full-time
- Whether either spouse engaged in adultery or abuse during the marriage
- Whether one spouse abandoned the other
There’s no chart or formula that determines how much alimony should be awarded in a given case. This is up to the discretion of the judge.
Modifying or Terminating Alimony
The couple can agree in advance (in writing) that neither will seek any modification to an award of alimony. If they don’t do this, then either spouse can go to court to seek modification or termination of alimony based on changed circumstances.
Alimony will also automatically end upon:
- Expiration of the term of temporary alimony
- Remarriage of the former spouse receiving alimony – as long as there is a provision in the agreement providing for such
- the death of either party
Getting the Help You Need
An experienced family lawyer can help you make the best case for yourself when it comes to alimony.
We can explain your rights, the process, and possible outcomes. We always try to help the parties work things out on their own, but we can go to court to fight for your interests if necessary.
Flaherty Legal Group is located in West Hartford and represents clients throughout Connecticut in all family law matters including high net worth divorce. Please call us at (860) 904-2034 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.