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How long do you have to be married for alimony to be ordered?


Hi, I'm Bill Farias, founder of Farias Family Law. This is a question that came up about three weeks ago. I met with this gentleman who's been married for five years. He's headed toward divorce and he's very concerned because he earns significantly more than his spouse and he's afraid that he's going to have to pay alimony after divorce. So his question was, isn't there some minimum amount of time that you have to be married for there to even be an alimony order?

The answer to that question is no, there is no minimum amount of time or length of the marriage for there to be an alimony order. However, my experience has been that length of the marriage is one of the key factors in determining whether there will be alimony in the first place and if so, for how long. So the court looks at a number of factors in determining whether there will be alimony and how much, and those factors are length of the marriage, the parties incomes, their age, their health, their ability to earn in the future, the assets that they will walk away with and a few other factors. But again, the most important factors are the disparity in income and length of the marriage. Generally, the longer you're married and the greater the disparity in income, the more likely it is that there will be alimony.

In a shorter marriage with a big disparity of income, if there is an alimony issue many times what the court will do or what the parties will do by agreement is workout a disproportionate division of assets instead. So if there should be alimony on one of these shorter marriages, then what the parties might do is say the lower earning spouse, instead of getting alimony will get a little bit more of one of the assets.

The other thing to keep in mind is that pre-marital cohabitation maybe taken into consideration by the core in determining the length of the marriage. So if the parties were married for two years, but they were living together for a decade before then, the court can treat that as a 12 year marriage instead of just a two year marriage. And that's important because that will impact, again, whether there will be alimony in the first place and if so, how long the alimony will have to be paid out.

So is there a minimum amount of time for there to be alimony in a divorce? The answer is no. However, length of the marriage is a key factor. It's not that short term marriages never include an alimony issue, some do, but the longer the marriage, the greater the disparity in income, the more likely it is that there will be alimony.

If you have any other questions about this, you can call us at 508-675-0464. You can email us at info@fariasfamilylaw.com. If you found this video helpful, you can subscribe to our channel and share it with anyone you think might benefit from it. You can find us on Facebook and Instagram at Farias Family Law. Thank you. Have a good day.

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