Will You Pay Alimony After the Divorce? Here's What You Need to Know

Are you preparing to divorce? Make sure you understand what alimony is and how it can affect you.

Whether you were married for five years or fifty years, divorce can be a complicated and emotional process. Although nearly half of all marriages end in divorce, the process can be challenging for any couple. It's important to realize that when you get divorced, the relationship with your partner doesn't always end completely. If you have children, you'll need to continue interacting with your partner if you share custody. In some cases, you may need to pay alimony to your partner, which can further lengthen your relationship and contact with one another. Will you need to pay alimony? A judge will decide; however, there are several things you need to know about alimony payments.

First off, understand why alimony is important. The primary goal of alimony is to support your former spouse as they begin life on their own. Typically, alimony will be paid to whichever partner makes less money or whoever needs more assistance moving out on their own. If you are ordered to pay alimony during the divorce process, this financial support will help your partner during the separation as they look for a job, hire an attorney, and begin their new life.

Keep in mind that alimony will not be paid forever. Typically, alimony payments can last anywhere from a few months to a few years. If you were married less than 10 years, your alimony payments will generally equal no more than half of the length of your marriage. If you were married ten or more years, you won't pay alimony longer than the time you were together. For example, if you were married for 11 years, you won't pay alimony more than 11 years. Even if you pay child support, you may still be required to pay alimony. This is because child support and alimony payments have different purposes. While child support payments help cover the cost of your child, alimony payments simply support your partner as they launch their own career or become financially independent after your marriage.

Finally, remember that the amount of alimony paid can vary. No two couples are alike, nor are their lifestyles. When calculating alimony payment terms, a judge will take your lifestyle and backgrounds into consideration. The judge will discuss how much you currently make, as well as how much assistance your partner needs. If you feel this number is inappropriate, you may discuss this with your attorney, as well as with the judge. For example, if the amount you're ordered to pay will create a financial hardship for you, make sure you bring this up. Either partner might receive alimony.

No matter what led you to divorce your spouse, make sure you understand the impact that alimony can have on your financial future. Discuss this with your attorney early on so you can put your best foot forward in the divorce. When you prepare for the possibility of paying alimony, you'll be better ready to handle anything you have to face. If you don't have an attorney, don't wait to reach out. Get a lawyer who can assist you throughout the entire divorce and who will guide you through the world of alimony and spousal support payments.