How Long Do You Have to Be Married to Get Alimony

How long do you have to be married to get alimony? There is no set formula for alimony orders, as there is for child support. Alimony is a financial order for one party to pay the other to maintain a certain level of income and meet basic financial needs. There are no set alimony guidelines, such as a formula, so no single alimony order is exactly like another.

Factors That Determine Alimony
Alimony awards are generally up to the judge listening to the divorce proceedings and depend on a variety of factors, including the age of the parties, their income, their health, fault for divorce and education of the parties. The length of the marriage is another part of that equation, and it affects the type of alimony award the judge may grant.

Length Of Time Alimony Must Be Paid
Alimony is usually restricted to a set number of years. Sometimes judges use the length of the marriage to establish alimony. It's possible to have alimony be paid for as many years as the marriage lasted. For example, eight years of marriage means eight years the paying party has to contribute alimony payments to the receiving party.

The 10-Year Rule
Another guideline that many judges use is whether the marriage exceeded 10 years-a long-term marriage. One kind of alimony award, known as permanent alimony (paid until the receiving party's remarriage or death), is often put into place when the marriage has lasted 10 years. In some states, like Texas, alimony isn't even considered an option unless the couple has passed the 10-year mark.

There are more important factors that judges consider than just the length of the marriage, but each piece contributes to the whole picture that the judge will evaluate. Other factors that weigh heavily in the alimony amount decisions include the income of both parties, the earning potential of both parties, child custody arrangements, the work skill level and education of both parties and the health and age of both parties. 

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