Alimony

Alimony is paid from one former spouse to the other so he or she can maintain the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage. This is paid on the basis of need and ability to pay. So, if one former spouse needs a certain amount of money and the other spouse has the ability to pay, then alimony may be available. However, a further consideration is the length of the marriage. Generally, for a marriage that has not lasted more than ten years, permanent alimony will not be ordered as there is a presumption against it. Bridge the gap alimony may instead be awarded with the intention of allowing the recipient spouse to “bridge the gap” from being a married person to a single person. For a marriage lasting from ten to eighteen years, permanent still may not be awarded but there is no presumption for or against it. This is described as a grey area marriage. Finally, for marriages lasting longer than eighteen years, there is a presumption of awarding permanent periodic alimony. However, as described above, just because the marriage length justifies permanent periodic alimony, need and ability to pay must still be established.