Spousal Support Attorney
While divorces can be devastating, they can also bring new beginnings and opportunities.
But what fresh start can a person have when they are financially dependent on their former spouse? Instead of getting a new lease on life, they are consumed with figuring out how to provide for themselves… which is often easier said than done.
Read this guide to answer the question, “How long after a divorce can you ask for alimony?”
What Is Alimony?
Alimony—or spousal support—is a court-ordered payment from one spouse to the other following a divorce. The purpose of alimony is to ensure both parties are financially stable after the marriage ends.
Typically, alimony occurs when one spouse depends on the other spouse financially. The spouse who earns significantly more might be required to pay alimony to support the other spouse. Alimony aims to create fairness for the dependent spouse once the marriage is officially dissolved.
For example, a judge may award alimony to a spouse who doesn’t work because they have been a stay-at-home parent. Since this parent doesn’t have an income, they wouldn’t be financially secure following the divorce. The spouse who makes more would make alimony payments to help the stay-at-home parent get back on their feet.
All divorce cases are different, but the spouse who earns more money usually makes alimony payments to the other spouse.
Many factors affect alimony payments, such as each spouse’s assets, earning capacity, and length of the marriage
If you’re going through a divorce and you were a dependent spouse, a divorce lawyer can help you fight for alimony payments so you can support yourself.
Types of Alimony
There are five common types of alimony in most states.
As the name implies, temporary alimony is intended for the short term. Typically, temporary alimony payments are made during the divorce process. Payments end once the divorce is finalized.
Durational alimony can be ordered in both short- and long-term marriages. This type of alimony is only for a set period, and it cannot go past the length of the marriage. So, if you were married for three years, you would only receive durational alimony payments for up to three years.
Bridge-the-gap alimony is awarded to dependent spouses who may struggle to adjust to their new life after the divorce. This alimony is short-term, as its purpose is to help the dependent spouse transition to being single.
Rehabilitative alimony is similar to bridge-the-gap alimony. It’s short-term and intended to rehabilitate the receiving spouse. For example, the dependent spouse may receive rehabilitative alimony while in school to finish a college degree or vocational degree.
As you can guess from the name, permanent alimony is indefinite. Permanent alimony is usually only awarded for long-term marriages, and payments continue until the dependent spouse remarries or the spouse making payments passes away.
This type of alimony is less common than it used to be and usually occurs in very long term marriages with a significant disparity in income between the spouses. For instance, permanent alimony may be awarded if the dependent spouse was a homemaker or part time employee throughout the marriage.
Can I Ask For Alimony After My Divorce is Finalized?
Generally speaking, you can NOT ask for alimony after your divorce is finalized. You must request alimony during the divorce process. Additionally, if the courts don’t award alimony, then you can’t come back to petition for alimony after the divorce is finalized.
Since you can’t ask for alimony after a divorce in most states, it’s important that you work with an experienced divorce lawyer during the divorce proceedings. They will help you request alimony and ensure you get the payments you need.
How Long Do I Get Alimony Payments After My Divorce?
The length of your alimony period depends on many aspects. The type of alimony you receive is a major deciding factor.
For example, suppose you get durational alimony. In that case, the alimony award will only last the set amount of time that the courts decided on. Permanent alimony, on the other hand, means you’ll receive payments until death or remarriage.
Another factor that determines how long you get alimony payments is the length of your marriage. For example, the State of Florida defines a short-term marriage as lasting less than seven years. A moderate marriage lasts between seven and fewer than 17 years. Finally, a marriage that lasts 17 years or longer is considered a long-term marriage.
Shorter marriages usually qualify for smaller periods of alimony, such as bridge-the-gap or rehabilitative alimony. Durational alimony may be awarded for moderate or long-term marriages. Meanwhile, permanent alimony is normally reserved for long-term marriages.
Going through a divorce can be challenging. It can be especially difficult if you’re fighting for alimony payments. An experienced alimony attorney can help you get the support you deserve. Contact an alimony attorney today to see how they can help you.