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Does alimony last forever?

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If you were ordered to pay child support, you know that it’s probably going to last until your child turns 18 – unless there are other reasons why it should continue. But what about alimony? If you have to pay alimony to your spouse, who is already an adult, then does it just last forever?

The good news is that it does not last indefinitely. When you get divorced, the court will determine how much alimony you have to pay and for how long. There are a lot of factors that have to be considered, such as the length of the marriage, how realistic it is for your spouse to re-enter the workforce and how long that is expected to take.

How do these factors apply?

For example, if your spouse has spent the last 20 years raising the children and hasn’t worked at all, while you have earned millions of dollars per year, you could be ordered to pay a substantial amount of alimony for a significant amount of time. But if your spouse simply makes a little less than you do and you haven’t been married for very long, your obligation shouldn’t be nearly as significant – if it exists at all.

The point of alimony is just to assist someone who thought they would be supported by their ex. But it is often assumed that a person will eventually be able to re-enter the workforce, even if it takes them years to do so. Therefore, you could be ordered to pay alimony for the next 3 to 5 years, for instance, or until your ex gets remarried.

As you go through this process, with such significant financial assets on the line, be sure you understand all of your legal options.

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