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Understanding spousal alimony

On Behalf of | Mar 2, 2023 | Divorce |

Alimony, also known as spousal maintenance or support, occurs when one spouse pays the other one during a legal separation or divorce. Although it is not a requirement, a judge may award one spouse alimony in order to maintain a similar lifestyle as this individual enjoyed during the marriage.

There are various factors a judge considers when determining spousal support. There is also often an ending date for these payments.

Factors considered for alimony determination

According to the Connecticut Judicial Branch Law Libraries, some of the factors considered include:

  • The number of years of the marriage
  • Each party’s income, age, health, financial needs, vocational skills and earning capacity
  • The reason for the dissolution of marriage
  • Other property decisions ordered by a judge
  • The ability of the custodial parent of a minor child to get a job

Types of alimony support

There are two types of support: Temporary and permanent. Temporary alimony helps to get a spouse through the transition period until reaching financial self-sufficiency. In this situation, the judge sets a termination date.

Temporary support is the more common type awarded. A judge grants permanent, or lifetime, alimony generally only for long-term marriages where a spouse is unable to become self-sufficient due to health, age or other reason.

Modification of alimony

There are specific instances in which a judge may modify the original support order. One is if one of the spouses experiences a substantial change in circumstances. Another is if both parties agree to a change of alimony. A judge may also modify an order if the spouse receiving support moves in with a partner, and this situation improves the spouse’s financial situation.