Depending on your situation, going through a divorce can be an emotional and very stressful time. You have realized that your marriage is finished. You also may realize that it is now time to move on with your new life. However, there are ramifications and issues that can include custody, property division, and perhaps even spousal support.
One interesting form of spousal support is that of permanent alimony. If you feel that you may be entitled to this form of support, you need to do some research and seek legal advice to help you to navigate the ins and outs of this financial support.
Generally, the divorcing parties negotiate these types of awards. In some cases, the permanent alimony was set forth in a prenuptial or even in a postnuptial agreement. Other cases may involve a court order for permanent alimony.
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Permanent alimony generally continues for an indefinite time period. Depending on local state laws, this type of alimony will cease if the former spouse dies or remarries. In some states, the alimony will cease if the person receiving the alimony engages in a cohabitation situation of a permanent nature—meaning living expenses are being shared with another person.
Factors Surrounding Alimony
The amount awarded can be determined by the courts if the couple did not or cannot agree. There are many factors that the courts can use to settle on the amount; however, in most cases the deciding factor is the length of the marriage.
For shorter marriages (less than five years in duration), courts often decide that each person probably has the same earning abilities that they had prior to the marriage. In these cases, the courts are saying that the individual spouses are able to be self-supporting in a short period.
With longer marriages (considered to be five years or longer), the courts are more likely to order permanent alimony. They take into consideration such things as:
- Individual earning capabilities
- Health and age
- Length of marriage
- Contributions of the homemaker
- Contributions made to a spouse’s career/education
- Property and debt division
Modifications of Permanent Alimony
Although an end date is not set, modifications to the alimony can be made if major changes have occurred, such as a large decrease or increase in income. Generally, one person must petition the court to seek a modification.
It is in the best interest of anyone seeking a divorce to have professional legal representation. These professionals will be able to guide you through the process as well as make sure that you receive everything to which you are entitled.