Alimony is a set sum paid regularly to a spouse or ex-spouse following a separation or divorce.

Alimony is defined broadly as one ex-spouse’s payment to the other following a divorce or during the pendency of a divorce case. Alimony can be awarded by a court or agreed upon by the couple.

Paying alimony to your ex-spouse can be rather inconvenient, as it adds another financial obligation to your life. And, similar to child support payments, once it is decided, you cannot avoid it. All you can do at that point is keep paying it until it is completed. 

So, many people who have alimony obligations may be wondering, how long does alimony last? Get the answer to your question in this article, along with information on different kinds of alimony agreements.

How Long Does Alimony Last?

The short answer to that is it depends. How long alimony lasts depends n many factors. One of the main factors is the type of alimony itself.

The type of alimony given has an effect on the duration of your alimony payments. There are five distinct types of alimony.

These types of alimony include:

Temporary Alimony

This sort of alimony is awarded in the course of a divorce. The payments will continue only until the divorce is finalized and a formal alimony agreement can be established.

Permanent Alimony

This type of alimony is significantly less prevalent today than it was in the past. It is awarded to one partner until they die, retire, or remarry.

Rehabilitative Alimony

Today, this is the most common type of alimony awarded in divorces. It has a definite end date determined by a judge. The date is chosen based on the judge’s assessment of how much time the individual requires to rehabilitate.

Reimbursement Alimony

As the name implies, this type of alimony is intended to reimburse the paying spouse for any investment made in the other spouse’s education or business. For instance, if one spouse worked to pay for their partner’s college education and they divorced shortly thereafter, the judge may order reimbursement alimony to the first partner until the “debt” is repaid.

This sort of alimony is accessible only if one spouse financially supports the other during the marriage.

In the case of an equal reimbursement, the duration of reimbursement alimony is typically equal to the duration of the support received. 

Lump-Sum Alimony

In some circumstances, a judge may grant spousal support in the form of lump-sum alimony. Among these circumstances are the following:

  • In place of a property settlement. The lump-sum payout compensates the spouse for any property or valuable objects acquired during the marriage.
  • In lieu of regular payments. Typically, a one-time payment is due and paid immediately based on a computation of future alimony payments.

There is no time limit on how long you can collect alimony if you have been married for at least 20 years. If you were married for less than two decades, however, you cannot claim alimony for more than 50% of the duration of the marriage.

In conclusion, how long alimony lasts depends on many factors, such as the type of alimony and the length of the marriage.

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