How Long Is Alimony Paid: The Average Duration
When planning a divorce, you should consider that either you or your spouse may be assigned with alimony. The terms and duration will differ depending on the surrounding factors. Get your divorce papers in Washington state in order, precalculate the alimony details, and predict the possible divorce aftermath without hurdles. If alimony is the main issue bothering your mind, here are the common things you need to bring your attention to when it comes to paying or receiving spousal support.
How Alimony Is Assigned
Alimony or spousal support, or maintenance is assigned during or after the divorce process to help the financially weaker partner recover after the end of a marriage. Spousal support can be also given as a result of separation or marriage annulment.
The judge defines the amount and how long is alimony paid by taking into account the following factors:
- your financial situation;
- your ability to cover your living standard minimum;
- your financial obligations;
- whether you will get child support;
- your qualifications and how much time is necessary to improve them;
- the marriage duration;
- your age, physical and emotional condition;
- your spouse’s financial situation and ability to pay out the alimony.
Once all the details are reviewed, the judge will or won’t assign the spousal support to you either on the spot even before the divorce is finalized, or only after the divorce decree is granted.
How Long Is Alimony Paid
There is no strict limit on how long you have to be married to get alimony. The spousal support is usually assigned considering your and your spouse’s financial situation. But what usually matters is the duration of marriage which affects the duration of alimony paid.
Although judges generally calculate the alimony to be paid for around 20% of the marriage duration, the more precise scheme is as follows:
- For short-term marriage – under 5 years on average – the spousal support is delivered for the term necessary for the partner to reach financial stability;
- For mid-term marriage – between 5 and 20 or 25 years – the spousal support duration is calculated by the 20-30% of the length of the official relationship;
- For long-term marriage – more than 20 or 25 years – the spousal support is assigned for a significant term or a lifelong one.
Yet, no one guarantees that every judge will use the scheme or the duration of your relationships as the top significant factor. Instead, in most cases, the financial situation and surrounding conditions of both spouses will be taken into account.
When Alimony Can Be Modified
If you are unhappy with the sum of spousal support or don’t agree on the terms when do you have to pay alimony, or your life situation has changed and you cannot follow the assigned routine considering spousal support anymore, you may appeal to the court for your alimony settlement to be modified. If you wish for the sum, duration, or any other terms to become different, you have to prove the significance of your reasons. This means you need to gather evidence and hand it to the court to review your alimony and assign the new best suitable conditions.
When Alimony Is Terminated
The final date appointed by the court determines how long does alimony last. If the spousal support is indefinite, it should be paid as long as the recipient lives and the payer can provide the payments. Early death or remarriage are both reasons for alimony payments to be discontinued. Often even unofficial romantic relationships or moving in with a new partner can be the reason for the alimony not to be paid anymore. In all other cases, the spousal support is more likely to be modified than terminated completely.
Spousal support may be paid for a short term only to help a person recover after the divorce and regain financial stability or for a lifetime to maintain the spouse not being able to cover minimum living expenses independently. Although marriage duration is taken into account when defining how long the spousal support is to be paid, what weighs more is the financial situation and surrounding conditions of both divorcees. Overall, alimony may be modified and terminated before the due date if strong and relevant evidence is provided.
If you wish to know more about the possible maintenance for your case exactly or change the existing one, consult your attorney or get help at the local family law office and improve your life conditions without hurdles.