Alimony FAQs

1. What are the different types of alimony?

Alimony can be: (i) bridge the gap, (ii) rehabilitative, (iii) durational, (iv) permanent or any combination of these. In any award of alimony, the court may order periodic payments, payments in lump sum or both.

2. How does the court decide how much alimony I am entitled to receive?

In determining whether to award alimony, the court shall first make a specific factual determination as to whether a party has an actual need for alimony and whether the other party has the ability to pay it. In determining the proper type and amount of alimony, the court will consider all relevant factors, including:

  • The standard of living established during the marriage
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party
  • The financial resources of each party, including the nonmarital and marital assets and liabilities distributed to each
  • The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills and employability of the parties and, when applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable him or her to find appropriate employment
  • The contribution of each party to the marriage, including services rendered in homemaking, child care, education and career-building of the other party
  • The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they have in common
  • The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award
  • All sources of income available to either party, including income through investments of any asset held by either party
  • Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties

3. Can a party who is required to pay alimony also be required to purchase life insurance?

To the extent necessary to protect an award of alimony, the court may order a party who is ordered to pay alimony to purchase or maintain a life insurance policy or a bond or to otherwise secure such alimony award with any other assets that may be suitable for that purpose.

4. What is bridge-the-gap alimony?

Bridge-the-gap alimony may be awarded to help one party make the transition from being married to being single. Bridge-the-gap alimony is designed to assist a party with legitimate, identifiable short-term needs, and the length of an award may not exceed two years. An award of bridge-the-gap alimony terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony. An award of bridge-the-gap alimony is not modifiable in amount or duration.

5. How can I obtain rehabilitative alimony?

Rehabilitative alimony may be awarded to help a party become self-supporting through either: (i) the redevelopment of previous skills or credentials or (ii) the acquisition of education, training or work experience necessary to develop appropriate employment skills or credentials. For rehabilitative alimony to be awarded, a specific and defined rehabilitative plan must be included as a part of any order awarding such alimony. An award of rehabilitative alimony may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances, upon noncompliance with the rehabilitative plan, or upon completion of the rehabilitative plan.

6. What is durational alimony?

Durational alimony may be awarded when permanent periodic alimony is inappropriate. The purpose of durational alimony is to provide a party with economic assistance for a set period of time following a marriage of short or moderate duration or following a marriage of long duration if there is no ongoing need for support on a permanent basis. An award of durational alimony terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony. The amount of durational alimony may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances. However, the length of an award of durational alimony may not be modified except under exceptional circumstances and may not exceed the length of the marriage.

7. When can I receive permanent alimony?

Permanent alimony may be awarded to provide for the necessities of life as they were established during the marriage for a party who lacks the financial ability to meet his or her needs following a divorce. Permanent alimony may be awarded following a marriage of long duration if such an award is appropriate under the factors set forth above, following a marriage of moderate duration if such an award is appropriate based upon clear and convincing evidence of the factors described above, or following a marriage of short duration if there are written findings of exceptional circumstances. In awarding permanent alimony, the court shall include a finding that no other form of alimony is fair and reasonable under the circumstances. An award of permanent alimony terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony. An award may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances or upon the existence of a supportive relationship.

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