In our last post we introduced several different types of alimony, or spousal support, and talked about situations in which each may be appropriate. If you have an idea of what type of alimony may be awarded in your divorce proceedings you may wonder how long you can expect to either receive or make payments.

The final word on alimony is up to the court, of course, but there are a few general guidelines that may be applied in your case.

First, the court will look at your prenuptial agreement if you have one. Any couple can benefit from a prenuptial agreement as it can give the court less discretion when determining alimony if you set out clear and reasonable maintenance provisions.

How long alimony payments are required may depend on the type of alimony (for more information on the different types, see our last post). Rehabilitative alimony payments will continue as long as the court orders, usually a specific period of time determined during the divorce.

Reimbursement alimony also continues for a set period of time. This may depend on the amount to be reimbursed, as this type of alimony is designed to allow one spouse to recoup expenses they incurred on the other’s behalf.

Permanent alimony can continue indefinitely, in some states until one spouse dies. However, it can often end when the receiver marries or moves in with another partner.

If you have questions about spousal maintenance, whether you believe you may be entitled to receive payments or you think you may be ordered to pay a certain amount, it is extremely helpful to have someone on your side who is familiar with the law and can help you seek a fair outcome. Consider getting in touch with an experienced family law attorney.

Source: Law & Daily Life, “Paying Alimony: How Long Can It ContinuePaying Alimony: How Long Can It Continue” Cynthia Hsu, March 17, 2013