How Long Does Spousal Support Last? Is it Permanent?

high net worth divorceIf you are going through a divorce, you may have some questions about spousal support. One of those questions may be, “How long will spousal support last?” What happens if you are somebody who has been out of the working world for quite some time and wonder how you’ll be able to get back on your feet by yourself? Many people rely on the support of a spouse but they may start to worry when that spouse isn’t around to support them anymore. In some cases, a spouse may hold off on a divorce because they fear that they won’t be able to do it on their own.

In many cases, it is not easy to figure out how long spousal support will last for you. Every situation is different and each state has different rules regarding alimony. For nearly every case, alimony is referred to as “rehabilitative.” This means that you could receive it for as long as it takes to support yourself and no longer rely on the ex-spouse. You may find that your divorce decree has laid out exactly when spousal support will end; however, this is not the case every time. In cases where it is not laid out, the courts will make the decision when it should end.

Common Reasons Why Spousal Support Ends

In some cases, you may find that alimony is permanent. These situations will commonly occur when a spouse is elderly or has health problems, but are very rare. If there is no real chance for a spouse to rejoin the workforce, this could qualify. Here are some reasons why permanent alimony may end:

Change in Circumstances: If either party has a significant change in circumstances, the alimony may end permanently. However, one party must petition the court for these circumstances to be considered. The court must also make the decision that the new circumstances qualify for the end of alimony. You may wonder what circumstances may change the course; however, these circumstances vary. Let’s say that a paying spouse suffers a permanent injury that will affect them for the rest of their life. This may call the end to a permanent award because the payer will never be able to work again.

Remarriage: What happens if one party remarries or enters into a new relationship where the new boyfriend or girlfriend is able to support them? For this to qualify, the relationship must be considered by the courts to be “long-term”, which means that they live together and share living expenses in many cases. However, the person paying the alimony must petition the courts to change this. 

Agreement Terms: Perhaps the couple made an agreement when they were still married. But what happens when a condition included in the agreement occurred? One example of this is if there was a condition mentioning that the alimony will end if a receiving spouse earns more than the paying spouse. In a few years, the paying spouse finds out that the receiving spouse is making much more than them. They can then come forth and petition the courts for a change. This may never happen, but there is always that chance.

If you have questions about alimony, you can contact an attorney who has experience in this category. At The Law Offices of Amy M. Montes, we can help you with your case. Call us today for more information.