When a divorce is about to happen, both parties naturally start thinking about how they can maintain their lifestyle (or if they can maintain it). That’s often when the question of alimony comes up.
Alimony is a form of spousal support that’s designed to help prevent a dependent spouse from being plunged into poverty because of their divorce from the family’s “breadwinner.” It’s not as common for one spouse to need alimony as it once was, but it’s important to understand the potential – no matter which side of the issue you’re on.
Interim alimony is spousal support that’s designed to maintain the “status quo” during the divorce process itself.
It’s only available when at least one spouse maintains that the marriage was valid, the dependent spouse needs the financial support and the other spouse has the ability to pay it. It automatically ends, however, when the divorce is finalized.
This kind of support is supposed to provide for a dependent spouse for a limited amount of time as they reestablish their independence after the marriage ends. It is limited to a maximum of five years and is only available when the paying spouse can afford it without undue hardship.
This kind of alimony can help a stay-at-home parent reenter the workforce or pursue new educational needs so that they can eventually become self-supporting.
Sometimes, a dependent spouse really cannot become self-supporting for one or more reasons. In that case, the court can order periodic payments that go beyond the five-year rehabilitative limit – but only when the paying spouse can afford to pay.
This kind of alimony can continue indefinitely if a couple was married for more than 20 years. If the marriage was of a shorter duration, then periodic alimony can only last for a period equal to the length of the marriage itself. So, if you were married for 15 years, periodic alimony could last a maximum of 15 years.
Whatever your situation, the best thing you can do is sit down and get some experienced legal guidance that’s specific to your case.