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What Is Alimony?

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Alimony is also known as spousal support. It is the legal term for support payments that are made from one ex-spouse to another. Alimony is often awarded in the divorce process to ensure that both parties are able to be financially stable after the divorce. Alimony payments can be ordered for a specific length of time or can be permanent.

If you’re not sure how long you have to pay alimony to your ex, it’s important to talk to an attorney. A family law attorney can look at your court order to help you understand how long you have to pay alimony and what has to happen before the payments can stop.

When Can I Stop Paying Alimony?

The simple answer is: whenever the court order says you can. Every case is different, and judges can award alimony for a short period of time, called transitional alimony, or award permanent alimony. Transitional alimony is meant to be short-term payments to give one party financial support as they go out on their own after the marriage is over. Permanent alimony is usually reserved for marriages that lasted for several years.

Does Alimony Stop If My Ex Gets Remarried?

If you have been court-ordered to pay permanent alimony, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you could be paying forever. The alimony payments usually stop if and when your ex gets remarried. This is because the courts assume that their new spouse will be supporting them financially, at least partially, and assuming that responsibility. If you’re not sure if your alimony payments stop when your ex gets remarried, you can talk to an attorney who can look at your order and see what the specific instructions are.

What Happens If I Can’t Pay Alimony?

While you may not like it, alimony is a court-ordered expense. This means that there are formal penalties if you don’t keep up with your payments. If you don’t pay alimony, you could be found in contempt, of course, have to pay arrears, and even face jail time and other consequences, such as having your driver’s license suspended. If you believe that the alimony payments create an undue financial hardship for you, you may be able to talk with an attorney about petitioning the courts to modify or terminate alimony.

Alimony payments can be complicated, and it’s common for people to be confused or have questions about what being ordered to pay alimony means for their financial future. If you have questions, call our law office at 931-236-2711 to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team. We can discuss your case and help you form a plan.

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