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What is the duration of an alimony award?

On Behalf of | Mar 31, 2022 | divorce |

Alimony can be vital for a divorcing spouse in some situations and may feel like a burden to the other spouse that they cannot sustain. Because of the sometimes emotional nature of alimony, it is helpful for divorcing spouses to be familiar with the different aspects of alimony and how it works.

Alimony may be awarded for different periods of time. Both spouses will likely be interested in the duration of any alimony award made between them because it will impact how long the recipient spouse will receive alimony and how long the paying spouse will have to make alimony payments following the divorce.


Alimony payments may be ordered during the pendency of the divorce. If the divorcing couple has been married for 20 years or longer, there is not limit to how long the recipient spouse may receive alimony. If the divorcing couple was married for fewer than 20 years, alimony cannot be ordered to be paid for greater than 50% of the number of years the couple was married. As an example, if the divorcing couple was married for 10 years, alimony would not be ordered for a period longer than 5 years following the divorce.

The family law court will determine how long alimony will be awarded taking into account these guidelines. The family law court may order one spouse to pay the other spouse alimony if the recipient spouse was financially dependent on the other spouse during their marriage. To demonstrate that they were dependent, the spouse seeking alimony will want to establish that they relied on their spouse for financial support, do not have sufficient property to provide for their needs and are unable to support themselves from work or cannot work because it would be inappropriate because they are caring for children.

Alimony can be a big issue during a divorce which is why divorcing couples should carefully consider what goes into an alimony award. It is helpful to have an understanding of what duration of alimony to expect when a request has been made.