Divorce is a complicated process that takes a physical and emotional toll on all involved. No two divorce proceedings are the same, and most come with challenging issues that can be difficult to resolve. When additional financial considerations are involved, such as child support, divorce proceedings can get messy.
Alimony also further complicates the divorce process, especially when one spouse is unwilling to pay what the other is owed. With 40-50% of couples in the United States going through a divorce at some point in their life, alimony agreements are standard. In this article, we’ll explore the topic of alimony and discuss everything you need to know!
What Is Alimony?
Alimony is a legal agreement that requires one spouse to provide financial support to the other during and after divorce. In most cases, the purpose of alimony is to provide financial support that allows the recipient to continue their current way of life. Negotiating alimony can be a complicated process, especially if one party doesn’t agree to the suggested terms of the agreement.
While some agreements can be arranged in mediation, a Judge might award alimony as part of the legal divorce settlement process.
Types of Alimony
There are four different types of alimony that most family courts award. This includes:
Post-separation spousal support or alimony requires one former spouse to grant a financial allowance to the other while the divorce is settled. It lasts only as long as the divorce process lasts and stops when the divorce process is completed.
Once post-separation alimony is awarded, you can petition the court to extend the length of your alimony arrangement. If you have a legal right to support, it’s essential to get to court as soon as posisble to avoid any delays. Even in the most amicable divorces and when both spouses agree to the terms, getting everything prepared in writing by a divorce attorney is essential.
Short-Term or Rehabilitative Support
Short-term support is similar to post-separation alimony, except it can continue after the divorce is finalized. Most short-term alimony orders last for a few years and have a specific end date. Rehabilitative support is a particular type of short-term support designed to help a dependent spouse get back into the workforce. For example, suppose one spouse is a stay-at-home parent. In that case, rehabilitative support can provide financial support until the dependent spouse finds suitable employment.
Long-Term or Permanent Support
Long-term or permanent support is typically awarded in divorce proceedings where the marriage lasted more than ten years. If a judge concludes that the dependent spouse will need support indefinitely or is not likely to be back in the workforce, permanent support can be awarded. Although it’s called permanent support, this type of alimony eventually ends if one party dies or the recipient gets remarried.
This is the only type of alimony not based on financial need. It is a way to compensate one spouse for the educational, training, or career advancement sacrifices they made during the marriage.
Regardless of what type of alimony is awarded, the allowance and terms depend on the age of each party, the length of the marriage, and the financial need.
If you want to discuss alimony with an expert Lancaster divorce lawyer, we’re here to help.