Is It Possible To Get Lifetime Alimony?

Law Blog

When courts order one spouse to pay alimony to the other, it's usually for a limited time (e.g. 3 years) to help the receiving spouse get back on his or her financial feet. In some cases, though, the courts will order alimony to be paid on a permanent basis, and only death of the payer or receiver will end the obligation. Although this type of alimony is no longer popular, here are two reasons the court may award it.

The Marriage Lasted a Really Long Time

The longer the marriage lasted, the higher the likelihood permanent alimony may be awarded to one spouse, particularly if that person didn't work outside the home during the years the couple was together. Lifetime alimony in this situation reflects the reality that the receiving spouse may be unable to get a job and become financially independent because of the length of time he or she was out of the workforce and/or the lack of education and experience required to get a job capable of supporting his or her lifestyle.

Additionally, stay-at-home spouses contribute quite a bit to the careers of working spouses, particularly when there are children involved. The stay-at-home spouse typically fills a number of positions (e.g. housekeeper, child caretaker) in the home, leaving the working spouse free to focus on work goals. The courts may order lifetime alimony to compensate the stay-at-home spouse for the unpaid labor he or she contributed that allowed the working spouse to attain the career success he or she has.

Be aware, though, that the length of the marriage will be a big factor in whether the judge determines permanent alimony is warranted. You're more likely to get it if you were married to your spouse for 30 or 40 years than if you were only together for 5 or 10. Your age may also be a factor, as the older you are the more difficult it may be for you to join the workforce.

The Receiving Person Is Unable to Work

Another reason lifetime alimony may be ordered is if the receiving spouse is unable to work at all for a valid reason. This usually refers to cases where the person sustains a disability or develops a serious illness during the marriage that inhibits his or her ability to find and maintain gainful employment.

In this case, the length of the marriage typically isn't as big of a factor as the nature of the person's condition, how it developed, and the impact on the person's ability to work. Even if you have been married for a short time, you may still qualify for permanent alimony, especially if your spouse was the cause of the condition that destroyed your ability to be financially independent (e.g. disabled because of physical abuse).

It's best to consult with an attorney to help you put together a case for permanent alimony if you believe you deserve it. Contact a divorce lawyer for assistance with your divorce.


21 January 2019

Car Accident Clues

It can be hard to know what to do to protect yourself legally in the immediate aftermath of a car accident. You’re liable to be disoriented or in shock, you may be injured, and you’re surely worried about your passenger or the other driver. At least, that’s how I felt. The thing is, the things you say and do in the immediate aftermath of an accident may affect a legal case later. Depending on who’s at fault and what the laws are in your state, you may want to sue the other driver for damages, or you may find yourself being sued. My blog is designed to give you tips for a car accident lawsuit, no matter which side you find yourself on.