Alimony may be awarded to either party during the pendency of a divorce. Different types of alimony include bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational and permanent. When determining which form is the best fit for your situation, the court considers a variety of different factors related to the marriage and lifestyle.
Alimony is a legal term referring to a family court-ordered payment from one spouse or former spouse to another when the couple separates or divorces. The alimony obligation may be awarded as a lump sum payment, a monthly payment or a combination of these.
There are several factors taken into account by the court to determine if this is applicable to a specific divorce case. One of these factors is if the receiving party actually has a real need for the payments. Another factor the court must consider is whether the paying party has the ability to pay alimony.
If the court determines that there is an actual need and there is an ability to pay, then the proper type must be selected for the case at hand.
Criteria Used to Determine the Type of Alimony That is Awarded
The length of time the marriage lasted before divorce or separation is an essential component when deciding the most suitable type of alimony. A marriage lasting less than seven years is generally considered a short-term marriage. Marriages lasting between seven and seventeen years are considered moderate-term, while a long-term marriage is over seventeen years.
Although every situation is unique, the court typically considers the following criteria when deciding support arrangements:
- Standard of living established during the marriage
- Duration of the marriage
- Age and physical or emotional condition of each party
- Financial resources of each party (both marital and non-marital assets)
- Earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability
- Contribution of each party to the marriage
- Responsibilities each party takes on in regard to minor children
- Tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award
- All sources of income available to either party
- Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties
Types of Alimony
The type of alimony awarded in a divorce case is determined by the above listed criteria as well as the intended use of the alimony. There are four common types:
Bridge-the-gap alimony is awarded to provide support to the receiving party during the transition from being married to being single. The length of this award may not exceed two years.
To assist in establishing a capacity for self-support rehabilitative alimony is awarded. This can be through either the redevelopment of previously held skills or the acquisition of new education, training or work experience.
Durational alimony is awarded when permanent, periodic alimony is inappropriate. This type of alimony provides a party with economic assistance for a limited period of time. Durational alimony often follows a marriage of short or moderate duration. However, it may follow a marriage of long duration if there is no need for permanent support.
Permanent alimony provides for the needs and necessities of life as established during the marriage. This is helpful for a party who lacks the financial ability to meet his or her needs and necessities of life following the dissolution of the marriage.
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