If you’re getting divorced, the subject of alimony may come up. While traditionally thought as a recourse only available to women, nowadays, alimony can be granted to any gender. Regardless of if you’re looking to receive alimony or you’re in the situation where you may need to pay alimony, it’s important to know what alimony is and how it works. 

What is alimony? 

Put simply, alimony is a monetary payment given from one spouse to another after a divorce. It is a payment to support a spouse who might need time to enter the job market or who may be unable to work at all. It can be court-appointed or worked out between spouses. Often, it has to do with allowing one spouse to maintain their quality of life. Generally, spouses are entitled to the lifestyle they are used to living. 

Types of alimony

In New Hampshire, there are four types of alimony: temporary, permanent, periodic (short-term), and reimbursement. 

Temporary alimony is primarily for the divorce process, allowing the spouse to cover their expenses as the proceedings are happening. Permanent alimony is rarer, but it can happen if one spouse is unable to enter the workforce for whatever reason. For instance, if they are disabled or if they are providing childcare that makes them unable to work outside the home, they may receive permanent alimony. 

Short-term alimony is considered to be rehabilitative. This means that both spouses are considered capable of entering into the job market and making their own living. However, one spouse might need time and training in order to become financially independent, meaning that they need support while they get that training or education. 

Reimbursement alimony can happen if one spouse supported the education or career of the other spouse. That spouse may be entitled to payments to essentially compensate for any expenses incurred during the course of the marriage. 

What factors are considered for alimony?  

When it comes to alimony, there are many factors to consider, such as how long the couple was married. These factors can include, along with others, the spouses’: 

  • Age
  • Health 
  • Social and economic status
  • Ability to obtain employment 
  • Liabilities and needs

Additionally, the court takes into account the factors that add to a fault-divorce such as cruelty, felony conviction, or domestic abuse. 

When does alimony end? 

When alimony ends depends on the type of alimony as well as period ordered. Most of the alimony ordered in NH is short term, meaning that alimony only lasts until the receiving spouse is financially independent. It may also end when the receiving spouse has finished their training or education. Temporary alimony ends when the divorce process is over. Typically, alimony may end when the receiving spouse hits retirement age or remarries. It can also be ended when one spouse dies.

It’s worth noting that there can be mitigating circumstances. For instance, if alimony ends because of remarriage or cohabitation, that doesn’t necessarily mean the paying spouse is off the hook. If that remarriage or cohabitation ends within five years of termination, the paying spouse might need to resume alimony payments. 

Spouses may also agree on how long the alimony payments should go on for. 

Alimony is part of the reality of getting divorced. If your soon-to-be-former spouse needs support and is used to receiving it, you may need to continue to support them for a time. If you’re the one needing support, it’s important that you receive a fair deal. 
If you’re looking for guidance as you move through your divorce, Bernstein & Mello, PLLC can help. When it comes to divorce and alimony, we have the experience and knowledge to get you the settlement you need. Reach out to us today, and let us know how we can help you.