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Determination of alimony after divorce

As residents of Connecticut who are contemplating divorce may know, some former spouses may receive alimony that is either awarded by the court or agreed to by the spouses. The reason for alimony is to allow the lower-earning spouse or one who has not been employed during the marriage to maintain his or her standard of living and improve job skills so they may become self-supporting.

Alimony is frequently considered by the court as rehabilitative and ordered for the length of time necessary for a former spouse to get job skills or retrain to find employment. However, if an end date is not included in the divorce decree, alimony continues until the court decides otherwise. In some cases, alimony may continue after the payer is deceased. In this case, it is paid from insurance or the estate. In most states, if the payee remarries, alimony is discontinued.

Most states have specific guidelines to determine alimony. Factors taken into consideration by the court may include the length of the marriage and the amount of time a spouse would require to retrain for the job market. Additionally, a judge may take into account the ages, health conditions and financial circumstances of the spouses.

An individual contemplating divorce may wish to consult with an attorney to see if they may be eligible for alimony. An attorney may assist in structuring an agreement that allows for support and further education as well as give advice regarding whether an individual would be better served by monthly payments or a lump sum. Should the payer's financial circumstances change, an attorney may be able to help by presenting a plan to the court to modify alimony payments.

Source: FindLaw, "Spousal Support (Alimony) Basics", October 30, 2014

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