For an individual divorcing in their 30s, the prospect of paying alimony can be daunting. Will you have to pay your former spouse for the rest of your life when you’ve been married for such a short portion of it? Rest easy. It is highly unlikely that you will be paying alimony for the next 50 to 60 years. Numerous scenarios terminate alimony agreements.
What situations terminate alimony?
In general, when your former spouse experiences a definitive change in relationship status that is lasting and dependent, you will be free from your alimony commitments.
- A remarriage
- A relationship that produces a child, leading to a court order requiring someone else to pay alimony to your former spouse
- A relationship that produces a child, leading to a court order directing your former spouse to support a dependent individual who is not a descendant by birth or adoption
- A cohabitating relationship
- The death of either party
- Another contingency identified in the order awarding alimony
- The fulfillment of the required term of a temporary order of alimony
The purpose of alimony
Alimony is meant to limit the unfair financial consequences of divorce by providing for the non-earning or lower-wage-earning spouse. It’s not a punishment, although it can feel like one if you are the higher-earning spouse. Remember that alimony is likely not permanent, and an experienced lawyer can advocate for an arrangement in your favor, to the extent possible by law.