The division of financial responsibilities and household work in most marriages is far from even. One spouse might earn all of the household income, while the other performs all of the unpaid labor like childcare, cooking and cleaning. Such a split allows a household to minimize expenses while maximizing family income.
Whether you are the spouse who earned most of that income or the spouse who supported the wage-earner with unpaid labor, you might find yourself wondering about spousal support, also known as alimony or spousal maintenance, in the event of a divorce. Specifically, you may wonder how long you can receive alimony or how long you will have to pay it.
Many alimony awards are temporary with a specific end date
Temporary alimony is probably the most common form. Most individuals who require alimony initially after a separation or divorce can go back to school to broaden their work skills or get back into the workforce so that they can command a more competitive wage.
Many alimony orders from Arizona divorces will last a specific amount of time intended to allow the dependent spouse to increase their earning potential. Once that specific amount of time has passed, alimony or support will end.
Alimony payments end when a spouse remarries
If your spouse was dependent on you for all their cost of living and the marriage lasted long enough or had enough extenuating circumstances to warrant long-term or permanent alimony, it doesn’t mean you will pay for them forever. If your spouse marries someone else, that will typically end your obligation to pay alimony. It’s worth noting, however, that a remarriage will not impact child support in the same way.
Spouses can agree to end or reduce alimony
If the person paying support has experienced some bad luck in recent months or if the one receiving support is in a more stable position, it’s possible that the two of them might reach an informal agreement to end the alimony early.
It may also be possible for the two to agree to a reduced amount of support because of changes in circumstances. If they can’t agree, it’s also an option for either spouse to request a modification that may adjust the amount or duration of the alimony because of changes in their circumstances.