Alimony (or spousal support) is a specific amount of money one party pays to the other party as and for monetary support during their divorce proceeding and/or subsequent to the entry of their Judgment of Divorce. Generally, the purpose of alimony is to allow the recipient party to maintain a standard of living comparable to the standard of living that he or she enjoyed during the marriage.
Types of Alimony:
- Open durational alimony: Alimony paid with no predetermined date of termination. Absent exceptional circumstances, a Court may enter an order awarding open durational alimony if the marriage lasted for at least twenty years.
- Limited duration alimony: Alimony paid for a delineated amount of time not to exceed the length of the marriage, except in the event of exceptional circumstances.
- Rehabilitative alimony: Alimony paid for a delineated period of time with the purpose of supporting the recipient party until such time that they are ready to reenter (or enter) the workforce. An example of this would be if one party paid the other party alimony while he or she attends law school.
- Reimbursement alimony: Alimony paid to compensate one party for financially supporting the other party (or making significant financial sacrifices) so that he or she could pursue their career or education.
- Pendente Lite alimony/support: Temporary or interim spousal support paid during the divorce process (prior to the entry of the Judgment of Divorce), in order for the supported party to maintain (or approximate) the marital financial status quo.
Calculation of alimony:
The Court does not utilize a formula when entering an alimony award; rather the Court must consider fourteen statutory factors when making an alimony determination, including, but not limited to (1) the needs of the payee and the ability to pay of the payor; (2) the length of the marriage; and (3) the marital standard of living.