April 17, 2024

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Understanding Durational Alimony – A Comprehensive Guide

Understanding Durational Alimony – A Comprehensive Guide

Understanding Durational Alimony – A Comprehensive Guide

Durational alimony is a spousal support that lasts for a set time. It is typically awarded following a short or moderate-term marriage but can also be granted under exceptional circumstances.

The court must consider several factors when determining the amount of alimony to award. It includes the spouses’ income sources, expectations for future earnings, and their respective education levels.

How Does It Work?

What is durational alimony? Financial payments provided by one ex-spouse (the “supporting spouse”) to another ex-spouse (the “dependent spouse”) are known as alimony, sometimes known as spousal support. These payments are typically designed to help the dependent spouse get back on their feet after a marriage ends.

The court looks at the supporting spouse’s income and the dependent spouse’s ability to earn money through work and other sources. The judge may take certain other situational factors into account as well, such as adultery or financial manipulation by the supporting spouse.

A court will usually issue a durational alimony order for a set amount of time. However, the end date for this type of spousal support cannot be modified after the judge sets it.

How Long Can It Last?

Generally, durational alimony can only be awarded after a short or moderate-term marriage and is rarely given after a long-term marriage. It is also only given if permanent alimony is inappropriate.

As a result, the court will look at specific situational factors in determining the length of a durational alimony award. These can include the spouse’s ability to make income, their investments, the amount of time they spent out of the workforce, the standard of living established during the marriage, a waste of marital assets, the one spouse’s contribution to the other’s a career, retirement, health issues, and tax considerations.

The law states that a judge may find exceptional circumstances where the application of the alimony guidelines is inequitable and depart from them. In litigated divorce cases, this is not ordinarily possible. Still, in a collaborative divorce, you and your lawyer can work together to develop options for reaching a flexible outcome that will meet your and your spouse’s needs.

How Can It Be Modified or Terminated?

The length of durational alimony can only be modified or terminated under exceptional circumstances, such as the death of either party or the receiving spouse’s remarriage. Unlike permanent periodic maintenance, which can only be ended upon the recipient’s death or remarriage, an award of durational alimony ends when the paying spouse reaches full retirement age. It can also be terminated if the recipient remarries or the payor lives with another romantic partner in a supportive relationship.

However, there are other situations where an alimony order can be modified or terminated, including a significant change in financial circumstances for either party. If the paying spouse loses a job or their hours are cut at work, dramatically reducing their income, the recipient may petition to have payments reduced. The same is true for the recipient if they receive a large sum of money or get a well-paying new job that significantly increases their earnings.

What Should I Do If I’m in Need of Emergency Alimony?

Like permanent alimony, durational spousal support may be awarded to help spouses with a significant income gap. The length of the marriage, the earning potential of each spouse, and the style of living experienced during the marriage are only a few of the many variables the courts take into account. These payments can be, at most, the length of the wedding and are only adjustable if a drastic change in circumstances arises.

Other alimony types include bridge-the-gap alimony, which considers the bills and foreseeable expenses incurred after a divorce. Rehabilitative alimony also supports one spouse while they seek training or work experience to become self-supporting. These options and others vary by state, but each has specific purposes and guidelines. A  divorce attorney can examine your unique situation and determine if you qualify for open durational alimony.