How Long Do You Have to Be Married to Get Alimony

How long do you have to married to get alimony? Will you qualify for alimony if you are at fault in the divorce? How is alimony determined?

Unfortunately, these issues are not cut and dry. Alimony laws vary from state to state, so you'll need to discuss alimony with your lawyer during the divorce proceedings. There are some basic alimony facts you should know as you go into the process. Before you initiate a divorce, you should meet with an attorney and ask questions about how your specific situation will affect your financial arrangement post-divorce.

Alimony can be granted to either party, depending on who is in financial need after the divorce. It used to be traditional that the wife was awarded alimony, but these days the only consideration is the financial disparity between the partners and how much earning potential each party has. If you have supported your spouse while he advanced his career, you may be eligible for alimony, also called spousal support or maintenance, for a period of time.

There are several types of alimony arrangements. Permanent alimony is usually awarded to spouses who have been in a lengthy marriage, are elderly or have a disability. Temporary alimony is usually awarded to a spouse who needs financial support for a period of time until she can become self-sufficient or while she cares for a disabled child.

Some states are more generous with alimony than others. New Hampshire, Washington, New Jersey, Michigan, Virginia and Oregon are states more likely to award permanent or long term alimony. Some states are stingy with alimony and tend to take into account things like fault in the divorce-North Carolina, Georgia and Texas are three such states. These states may consider who is at fault to be one of many factors when determining if alimony is warranted. In any case, most courts are generous with alimony in cases of obvious need, such as when medical issues and pressing financial needs are evident.

The general rule of thumb for determining alimony is to award the dependent spouse financial support for one third of the time of the length of the marriage. However, in some states, such as California, the ratio is as high as 50 percent of the time of the length of the marriage. Some states rarely give out alimony except in cases of evident need; other states routinely award alimony.

There is no minimum time of marriage in order to warrant alimony, although many other factors will be considered before alimony will be calculated. The judge will take into account joint and separate assets, health conditions, dependents, earning potential and child support before considering awarding alimony. For many couples with short marriages, these factors leave the situation as a wash, with such little alimony at stake after all those considerations that alimony is dismissed as insignificant. If you're only going to be entitled to a few months of alimony, it may not be worth the legal fees to fight to get it.

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