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How Long Can I Expect to Pay Alimony?

Sep 16, 2021 Divorce

Designed to help one spouse continue living the same lifestyle as when they were married, alimony payments are a common element negotiated and settled upon during a divorce proceeding. However, just because it’s common doesn’t mean that it’s not contentious. In most divorces, the subject of alimony or spousal support payments is one that’s often hotly debated and argued between spouses. This is especially true when the divorce involves a high net worth couple. If you’re struggling to meet in the middle on alimony payments with your soon-to-be former spouse, you should contact an Irvine spousal support attorney to help you navigate the process. 

While alimony seems costly, it’s important to understand that it’s not necessarily designed to last forever. It’s possible to make flexible alimony arrangements that work for both of you and terminate after a certain period of time. It’s also possible to simply make one lump sum payment and forget about having to pay any monthly alimony payments. Below, we discuss some of the specifics around alimony, and how long you might expect to have to pay it.

Types of Alimony

There are several types of alimony that would be awarded in a divorce, and the type involved in your case will determine how long you have to pay. These types of alimony include:

  • Temporary alimony: These payments typically only last until a divorce is finalized and an official alimony agreement can be put in place.
  • Permanent alimony: While this type of alimony has become far less common, it would be given to one spouse until their death, retirement, or marriage if the parties agree to this type of spousal support arrangement.
  • Rehabilitative alimony: This is the most common type awarded today, and would be awarded for whatever length of time the judge believes is needed for the lesser-earning spouse to get on their feet.
  • Reimbursement alimony: This type of alimony is designed to reimburse one spouse for supporting the other through college or in growing their business. 

What Factors Does the Court Consider When Awarding Alimony?

Typically, the court will consider certain factors when determining how much to award in alimony payments. In most cases, employability and the duration of the marriage will weigh heavily on how much and how long someone will have to pay alimony.

Employability refers to one spouse’s ability to go out and look for other work, and the subject of employability comes up most often when a couple has children. If one spouse has little time for work outside of their child care responsibilities, the court will typically consider this spouse not very employable and award them more money. Another factor is the length of time the marriage lasted; in most cases, five years of marriage will get you half that amount of time in alimony payments, 10-20 years of marriage means you might be paying up to 70 percent of the length of your marriage, and anything longer than 20 years might warrant permanent alimony.

Speak to an Irvine Spousal Support Attorney Today

Alimony payments can be as flexible as you need them to be when you have the right attorney on your side. An experienced Irvine spousal support attorney can help you get started with an agreement that works for you. Contact our office today.