How Long Does Alimony Last? (Everything You Need To Know)

How Long Does Alimony Last - How Long Do You Have To Pay Alimony - How Long Do You Have To Be Married To Get Alimony

Wondering how long does alimony last? 

This article will tell you EXACTLY how long alimony lasts in your scenario. 

And it covers when alimony can be permanent. 

(Meaning you could be paying it for the rest of your life.)

So, let’s dig in. 

Divorce can be devastating. It’s heartbreaking when parents lose custody of their children. Spouses end up having to pay agonizing amounts of alimony.

If you want to protect your rights, not wrongfully lose custody, and not get raked over the coals financially, fill out the form below. 

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How Long Does Alimony Last?

How long does alimony last varies from state to state and judge to judge. 

They have the ability to determine how long does alimony lasts for each case. 

But here are the general guidelines for how long does alimony last. 

Length of Marriage% of Length of MarriageDuration of Alimony
< 5 Years20% 2 months - 1 year
5 - 6 Years24%1.2 - 1.4 years
6 - 7 Years28%1.7 - 2.0 years
7 - 8 Years32%2.3 - 2.6 years
8 - 9 Years36%2.9 - 3.3 years
9 - 10 Years40%3.6 - 4.0 years
10 - 11 Years44%4.4 - 4.8 years
11 - 12 Years48%5.3 - 5.8 years
12 - 13 Years52%6.3 - 6.8 years
13 - 14 Years56%7.3 - 7.8 years
14 - 15 Years60%8.4 - 9.0 years
15 - 16 Years64%9.6 - 10.3 years
16 - 17 Years68%10.9 - 11.6 years
17 - 18 Years72%12.3 - 13.0 years
18 - 19 Years76%13.7 - 14.4 years
19 - 20 Years80%15.2 - 16.0 years
20+ Years100% - Permanent20+ years

The factors that contribute to how long does alimony last are:

  • each spouse’s individual income
  • the combined net annual income of both spouses
  • child support payments getting paid
  • alimony from previous marriages

Types Of Alimony

How long does alimony last really depends on the type of alimony you have. 

There are five types of alimony:

  • temporary alimony
  • reviewable alimony
  • permanent alimony
  • reimbursement alimony
  • rehabilitative alimony

Related: Does It Matter Who Files for Divorce First

Temporary Alimony

Temporary alimony only gets paid during the divorce process. 

After the divorce is finalized, temporary alimony no longer gets paid. 

Normally, temporary alimony gets replaced by another alimony. 

If you owe another type of alimony AFTER the divorce is finalized, this replaces temporary alimony. 

Reviewable Alimony

Reviewable alimony means that the spouses will return to court later.

At this later date, the courts will determine if the alimony should be extended, modified, or terminated. 

Sometimes the paying spouse is required to petition the courts to end reviewable alimony. 

Related: How to Leave Your Husband

Permanent Alimony

Permanent Alimony is financial support paid from one party to another after a divorce. 

Permanent alimony gets paid until one of the spouses dies. 

Reimbursement Alimony

Reimbursement alimony pays back a spouse for time, money, or effort. 

Think of a spouse who worked to put the other through college or a work-related program. 

If the spouse going to school is earning more money, reimbursement alimony may get awarded. 

Reimbursement alimony lasts until 50%-100% of the tuition gets paid back. 

Related: Questions to Ask A Divorce Lawyer

Rehabilitative Alimony

Rehabilitative alimony gets paid to help your spouse adjust to the finances of single life. 

Usually, rehabilitative alimony gets paid to stay-at-home spouses. 

It allows them to have time to gain the skills necessary to start making a reasonable income. 

Once they are self-supporting, you can petition the court to stop paying. 

Related: Legal Reasons for Divorce

How Long Do You Have To Be Married To Get Alimony - How Long Does Alimony Last - When Does Alimony End

How Long Do You Have To Be Married To Get Alimony?

Usually, you have to be married for at least three years to get alimony.

Again, this varies between states and judges. 

Some won’t order alimony before 5 years of marriage. 

While others will allow you to get alimony after 1 year of marriage. 

But, on average, you can expect to have to be married for 3 years to get alimony. 

Related: Divorce Statistics

When Does Alimony Start?

Temporary alimony will get ordered to start during the divorce process. 

Temporary alimony usually starts after the first court appearance. 

Other alimony starts after the divorce has been finalized and you get your divorce decree. 

The divorce decree will include your alimony orders. 

Once you have these alimony orders, alimony will start getting paid. 

Related: How Long Does A Divorce Take

When Does Alimony End?

When does alimony end depends on the court orders you have. 

Permanent alimony will end when one spouse passes away. 

Temporary alimony ends when the divorce gets finalized and you have a divorce decree. 

When other types of alimony end depend on your situation. 

Either the alimony will end on the date your court order specifies. 

Or you will have to petition the courts to end alimony. 

You may be unsure when your alimony ends.

If this is the case, call the county clerk’s office that issued your divorce decree.

Related: How a Mother Can Lose a Custody Battle

How Long Do You Have To Pay Alimony?

How long do you have to pay alimony depends on:

  • the length of your marriage
  • what state you live in
  • your grounds for divorce
  • the judge you get
  • the type of alimony you’re paying

Let’s say that your marriage lasted the average length of marriage – 8 years. 

And that you filed a no-fault divorce. 

In this case, most likely, you have to pay alimony for 2.6 years. 

Do I Have To Pay Alimony?

Wondering, “Do I have to pay alimony?”

In general, you have to pay alimony to allow your spouse to maintain the lifestyle you provided them

The courts will look at your spouse’s earning potential, not their income

Let’s say your spouse was a stay-at-home mom. 

But she also has a nursing degree where she could go earn $75,000+. 

They would take into account that her earning potential is $75k+. 

They wouldn’t consider much that she’s currently earning $0 by choice.

This will make it less likely that you have to pay alimony. 

(Unless your earnings are crazy, like $200k+ per year.)

Related: How Can A Father Get Full Custody of His Child

Alimony After 20 Years Of Marriage

Alimony after 20 years of marriage has no limits on how long it will last. 

And alimony after 20 years of marriage typically lasts how long your marriage lasted. 

Meaning if you were married for 20 years, alimony could get paid for 20 years. 

In most cases, alimony after 20 years of marriage is permanent. 

Meaning that alimony will last until one of the spouses passes away. 

Don't Get Crushed By Alimony

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This means that you don’t wrongfully lose custody of your children.

We also make sure that your divorce judgment is equitable and fair.

This means you don’t get raked over the coals financially.

After you fill out the form below, we will set up your free consultation.

Talk soon.

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