How long does a marriage need to last to be awarded alimony?

If you've been married a decade and now are facing divorce, you may wonder how you will financially move forward. Perhaps, you've been a stay-at-home mom for the last seven years, spending your time raising your children. You know you won't be able to support yourself after your divorce and hope you will qualify for spousal support.

Yet, is there a specific amount of time your marriage needs to last for you to receive alimony?

Factors in determining spousal support

The first thing you should know is that the court evaluates many factors before awarding spousal support. These include the following:

  • You and your spouse's age and overall physical and mental health
  • If you or your spouse earn significantly less than the other spouse
  • Your standard of living during the marriage
  • What you or your spouse's unpaid contributions to the marriage were (such as being a homemaker)
  • The ability for you or your spouse to support yourself
  • You and your spouse's future potential earnings
  • If you or your spouse need additional education or training to become self-sufficient
  • If you or your spouse will have health insurance after the divorce

However, the longer you are married, the greater likelihood you will receive spousal support.

How long will spousal support last?

Also, if you do receive spousal support, you will receive it longer if you have been married longer. For example, if you've been married less than 15 years, your spousal support likely will last 15-30% of the duration of the marriage. If you've been married 15-20 years, that percentage jumps to 30-40%. If you've been married more than 20 years, your spousal support can last 35-50% of the marriage's duration.

As with any divorce matter, you should consult your attorney to determine if you may be eligible for spousal support.

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