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Should a self-sufficient ex-spouse receive alimony checks?

Despite cultural changes, alimony still has a strong presence in our society. During the divorce process, your soon-to-be ex-spouse might request financial support. Since you make more money, the court might come to the decision that you’ll be cutting the check.

What happens when your ex-spouse gets a job or makes a livable income though? Do you still have to support them when they become self-sufficient?

How is alimony determined?

The purpose of alimony is to support the spouse who earns less until he or she can get back on their financial feet. A stay-at-home parent might receive alimony, because their career was supporting the family. The court considers a few factors when determining alimony, such as:

  • Your spouse's age and physical, emotional and financial condition
  • The amount of time it would take for your spouse to become self-sufficient, whether that be with education, training or job searching
  • The length of your marriage
  • You and your spouse's standard of living before the divorce
  • Your ability to support your ex-spouse while supporting yourself

How long must alimony be paid?

You might notice that after the divorce, your ex-spouse is doing well. They found a job or they are making some sort of income. Maybe they have roommates or started living with another partner. Do you still need to pay alimony?

You may be in luck if the alimony was deemed "rehabilitative," which means the order only lasts until the spouse becomes self-supporting. Other grounds for alimony termination includes if your ex-spouse remarries.

But if the court did not specify a termination date, the payments continue unless ordered otherwise. If you owe alimony and believe the order should be modified or terminated, you can either come to an agreement with your ex-spouse or take the matter to court.

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