How Long Can I Expect to Pay Spousal Support/Maintenance/Alimony?

How Long Can I Expect to Pay Spousal Support/Maintenance/Alimony?

One of the first questions that clients always ask is:  How long will I pay support to my soon to be ex-spouse?

Unfortunately, as with most areas of the law, there is not a strict timeline for the payment of support.  The determination varies based upon numerous factors unique to each matter.  A court will review all of the factors to determine the appropriate duration for payment of support.  Where there is a short-term marriage with no children, support can theoretically be paid for just a few months.  In contrast, where there is a long-term marriage where one spouse was never employed, support can be paid for up to 50% of the length of the marriage.  In certain unique circumstances, support can be paid for the lifetime of the spouse.

Notwithstanding this fact-based review, an advisory schedule was created so as to guide parties in making the determination as to length of support that he/she might expect to pay in a divorce.  This schedule is utilized in court as a guide for determination of support.

That schedule is as follows:

Length of the marriagePercent of the length of the marriage for which maintenance will be payable
0 up to and including
15 years
15%-30%
More than 15 up to and including 20 years30%-40%
More than 20 years35%-50%

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