Alimony

In some divorce cases one of the parties may seek alimony (financial support) from the other. After the Court reviews the facts of the case and considers the many factors that affect a judgment of alimony, the Judge may order one party to pay alimony to the other.

There are several types of alimony that the Court may order in seeking to provide appropriate relief to the receiving party:

Bridge-the Gap Alimony is generally awarded to help one of the parties to transition from married status to being single (to assist a spouse who has been financially dependent to becoming financially independent). It is limited to a period of two years. Once awarded, it cannot be modified.

Rehabilitative Alimony is awarded for a limited time to assist the receiving party in preparing to become financially self-supporting. This may include completing an education, learning new skills, honing old skills, etc. The party receiving the award will be required to develop a plan of action and to stick with it. Failure to do so can result in the loss of the award.

Durational Alimony is awarded when permanent alimony is not the appropriate remedy. It is intended to provide a party with financial assistance for a set period of time following a marriage of short or moderate duration. The length of the award may not exceed the length of the marriage.

Permanent Alimony is generally awarded for marriages of long duration but can be awarded following marriages of moderate duration-and even short duration when there are exceptional circumstances. It may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances.

Lump Sum Alimony may be ordered where one party pays the other party a lump-sum payment. The payment can be money, or can be awarded out of other marital assets.

In awarding alimony, the Court must consider several factor such as the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage; the length of the marriage; the earning capacity and financial resources of the parties; a party’s contribution to the marriage and many others.

However, before awarding any alimony the Court must first make a factual determination as to whether either party has an actual need for alimony and whether the other party has the ability to pay.