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Alimony: Get to know your rights before you pay out

If you're someone who is the breadwinner in your family, the idea that your spouse wants a divorce may leave a bad taste in your mouth. You know that alimony could be a request they make, even though they've already relied on you to pay the bills for some time.

Unfortunately, alimony is there for people who can't afford to live on their own or who need support to gain employment following a separation or divorce. As the person who was supporting your family, you may be the party who is held responsible for continuing to support those who need it until they are able to support themselves on their own.

Is alimony permanent?

One of the best things about today's legal system is that alimony is no longer permanent in most cases. That means that you should know exactly how much you'll pay out over time and be able to offer a settlement in your divorce. If the other party can accept your offer, then you may not have to pay alimony over a course of years or months. A single, one-time payment is usually preferred by those who need to pay out alimony.

Alimony is designed to support a spouse while they're finding work and gainful employment, but it isn't meant to last forever. You can ask that it lasts for a short time or reach out to the court for updates if you find that the other party is working and no longer needs your support. Alimony is handled on a case-by-case basis, so it's something to discuss with your attorney.

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