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What Is Alimony and How Is It Determined in a Divorce Settlement

Alimony, alternatively known as spousal support, is money paid by one ex-spouse to the other after divorce. Alimony is meant to assist the receiving spouse adjust to life on their own or become self-sufficient after a lengthy relationship.

In order to determine if alimony will be paid and how much, the court will look at various factors such as:

  • How long the couple was married
  • Each spouse’s earning capacity
  • Each spouse’s age and health
  • Whether one spouse stayed home to care for children or manage the household while the other worked
  • The standard of living during the marriage
  • How much each spouse contributed to joint property or debt

Generally, the longer the marriage, the greater the likelihood that alimony will be paid. This is because it is generally assumed that after a long marriage, one spouse has become accustomed to a certain standard of living and may not have the skills or education necessary to support themselves.

However, there is no set rule for how long you must be married to receive alimony. Each case is decided based on its own unique circumstances. If you are seeking alimony, it is important to speak with an experienced divorce attorney who can help you understand the laws in your state and build a strong case for why you should receive support.

What Are the Consequences of Not Paying Alimony

If you are ordered to pay alimony and you fail to do so, there can be serious consequences. The court may order wage garnishment, which means that the money will be taken directly out of your paycheck. The court may also place a lien on your property or assets. If you still fail to pay, you could be held in contempt of court, which could result in fines or even jail time.

Paying alimony can be a financial burden, but it is important to remember that if you have been ordered to pay it, it is because the court has determined that it is necessary for the support of your spouse. Failing to pay alimony can have serious repercussions, so if you are having difficulty making payments, you should contact an experienced family law attorney who can help you explore your options.

How Long Do You Have to Be Married to Qualify for Alimony Payments


The length of a marriage is just one factor that a court will consider when determining whether to award alimony, but it is an important one. Generally, the longer the marriage, the more likely it is that alimony will be awarded. This is because courts generally view long-term marriages as being more financially interdependent than shorter ones. In other words, if you have been married for many years, it is more likely that you and your spouse have become used to a certain standard of living and that one spouse would be unable to maintain that standard after a divorce.

However, there is no hard and fast rule about how long you have to be married to get alimony. Each case is decided on its own merits, and the court will consider a variety of factors in addition to the length of the marriage. These factors can include the ages of the spouses, their earning capacities, their health, and their ability to become self-sufficient.

It’s critical to consult with a qualified divorce lawyer in Las Vegas if you’re thinking about or have already initiated a divorce. An attorney can also help you negotiate a fair and reasonable alimony agreement with your spouse, if possible. If you cannot reach an agreement, your attorney can advocate for you in court and help you obtain the best possible outcome under the circumstances.

The divorce lawyers at Donn W. Prokopius, Chtd. have years of experience handling all aspects of divorce and family law matters in Las Vegas, Clark County, and throughout Nevada. We have a proven track record of success in complex divorce cases, including those involving high-asset spouses and couples with significant income disparities. We also regularly assist clients who are seeking to modify or terminate their existing alimony agreements.

Call us at (702) 474-0500 or send us an email to arrange a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable divorce attorneys.