How long do you pay alimony?

How Long Do You Pay Alimony?

Wondering how long do you pay alimony? Find the answer here.

What is Alimony?

Alimony is a financial remedy used to provide support to an ex-spouse. The term comes from the Latin word “alimentum,” which means “sustenance.” It is usually ordered by a court and paid by one spouse to the other spouse. It can be granted either as a fixed amount for a fixed duration or can be ordered based on the needs of the payer’s ex-spouse. It is also known as “permanent periodic spousal support.”

Alimony is paid to a former spouse when the court believes that their financial condition requires that support. The aim of alimony is to ease the financial disparity between the two ex-spouses.

What are The Types of Alimony?


Permanent alimony is the longest form of alimony, lasting until the recipient remarries or if any of the spouses dies. This type of alimony is usually awarded in cases of long-term marriages. In some cases, a court may award alimony so that a spouse can maintain their standard of living after a divorce.


The concept of durational alimony is complicated, but in essence, it involves a court determining how much money the ex-spouse will receive in the form of alimony after a set amount of time passes.


Rehabilitative alimony is intended to assist the non-working ex-spouse in entering the job market or entrepreneurship to rebuild their earning capacity.


Divorce is one of the most difficult transitions a person may encounter. One may have to learn how to live without a partner and adjust to their new financial situation. This is where bridge-the-gap alimony comes in. It’s short-term alimony (maximum duration of two years) that helps a person transition from being married to being single and financially independent.

How Long Do You Pay Alimony?

One of the most common questions often asked in divorce is: How long will I have to pay alimony? The answer is that it varies from case to case. Courts consider a variety of factors when deciding the length of alimony payments, including (but not limited to) the needs of the payor, the financial resources and earning potential of both spouses, and the number of children involved in the marriage.

Who Should Pay the Alimony?

Family law and divorce cases are different from one another. Alimony can vary in amount, duration, and payment method based on state and local law. Each case is unique, but one thing remains consistent—the party who earns the most money typically pays alimony.

Here are some factors that are taken into consideration when deciding on alimony:

  • Earning capacity
  • Education level
  • Access to additional financial support
  • Assets
  • Debts
  • Length of marriage
  • Whether either spouse committed adultery

Each divorce case must be reviewed from many different angles, and alimony will depend on a number of factors. While every divorce case is different, there are some factors that courts will look at when deciding whether alimony is appropriate. Attorneys can help clients prepare for this process by explaining what to expect and how to work through it. Having an experienced attorney helps ensure a fair alimony settlement.