How Long Do You Have to Be Married to Get Alimony

How Long Do You Have to Be Married to Get Alimony?

When establishing spousal support, many times known as alimony, courts contemplate a multitude of things. First, in their assessment, they think about the kind of spousal support someone may qualify for. Following that, they consider a host of other elements, comprising of, but not limited to the duration of the marriage when establishing is an individual qualifies for spousal support. Alimony is intended as a way of restricting unfair or inequitable impacts that happens when couples with different incomes divorce. Various kinds of alimony are designed to handle these concerns.

Kinds of Spousal Support

Clearly, each state has their own set of provisions they follow when determining if an individual qualifies for spousal support, and, if so, the kind of spousal support one might qualify for. Not all states use the same terminology to detail the same kinds of alimony, in which can additionally confuse things. Generally, there are 4 various kinds of alimony:

  • Permanent
  • Durational
  • Rehabilitative
  • Bridge the Gap

Permanent Alimony

Permanent alimony is, as the name specifies, designed to offer permanent spousal support. Usually, the commitment ends only upon the spouse’s passing or upon the remarriage of the payee.

Durational Alimony

Durational alimony is support that is ordered for a specific amount of time, like five years, or until the last child completes high school or becomes eight teen.

Rehabilitative Alimony

Rehabilitative alimony, like durational, is restricted in time. Nevertheless, it is also restricted in scope. Rehabilitative alimony is particularly designed to offer the payee with the schooling, skills, and training required for them to work to support themselves down the road.

Bridge the Gap Alimony

Bridge the gap alimony is also for a brief, limited amount of time. It is designed to help an individual get back on their feet following a divorce.

Things the Court Regards When Determining the Kind of Spousal Support

Not all courts order spousal support in each of their cases. When a court does grant spousal support, they commonly consider a series of factors, including:

  • The age of each spouse
  • The physical status of each spouse
  • The financial status of each spouse
  • The emotional status of each spouse
  • The amount of time is needed for a payee to acquire the schooling, skills, or training required for supporting themselves
  • The lifestyle the couple enjoyed throughout the course of the marriage
  • The duration of the marriage
  • Each spouse’s offerings to the home, including unpaid offerings, like being the homemaker
  • Whether either spouse abandoned their own work and/or educational opportunities in order to put the other spouse through additional education or to support the advancement of their career
  • Any other elements the court considers appropriate

Many states, such as Florida, specifically allow courts to consider one spouse’s adulterous behavior when determining whether to grant alimony, and the amount of alimony to grant. Florida is additionally one of the states where the statutes offer clear guidance concerning the kind of alimony and the duration of the marriage. For instance, whereas a judge may grant permanent spousal support as the result of a marriage that lasted a minimum of 16 years, for marriages of less than 6 years, permanent alimony is only suitable in the most exceptional of cases. California, at the same time, is one of the states that offers little guidance associated to the number of years married and the kind of alimony to be granted.

If you want to discover more about acquiring spousal support, be sure you understand the relevant state rules prior to determining which kind of spousal support is suitable for you.


    1. Funk, C. (2019, April 18). How long do you have to be married to receive spousal support? LegalZoom. Retrieved October 25, 2021, from

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