Alimony is support paid to an ex-spouse following divorce. The amount of alimony is usually based on the incomes of the parties. It is not uncommon for the amount of alimony to be considered in the context of the equitable distribution of marital assets, if any. Unless otherwise stated by agreement, the amount of alimony may be modified due the changed circumstances of either party. These changes must be substantial and of a continuing nature. Parties reaching their own agreement for alimony may contract for non-modifiable alimony.
The duration of alimony is based on the length of the marriage. For example, a party may expect approximately 1 year of alimony for every 3 years married. For marriages of over 25 years, an indefinite term of alimony may be appropriate. If the parties include alimony as a part of their own settlement agreement, they are free to set the amount and length of the alimony as they so agree. Previously, alimony was a tax deduction for the party paying the support while the party receiving the support had to claim it as income. Pursuant to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, alimony is no longer a taxable event. This change in the tax treatment of alimony became effective January 1, 2019. If your Order for alimony was entered prior to that date, the prior rules will continue to apply. By April M. Townsend