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860 236-9350  ▪  800 856-6400

690 Flatbush Avenue, West Hartford, CT 06110-1308

27 Holmes Avenue, Waterbury, CT  203 756-6100

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690 Flatbush Avenue West Hartford, CT  06110-1308

860 236-9350             800 856-6400  toll free     860 523-9101  fax

27 Holmes Avenue Downtown Waterbury 203 756-6100

 

Alimony

    Alimony is money ordered by a divorce court to be paid from one spouse to the other spouse.

    The law in Connecticut does not require that alimony be paid in every divorce.  Alimony usually is paid in a divorce if there is a significant difference between the parties' income or earning abilities.

    In deciding whether alimony should be paid and the amount to be paid, the Connecticut law requires that the divorce court consider the following factors:

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The length of the marriage.

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The age and health of the parties.

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The occupation, amount of income, sources of income, vocational skills, and employability of the parties.

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The needs of the parties.

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How the parties' property and debts are being divided.

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The causes for the divorce.

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How desirable it is for the parent with custody of the children to work.

    A Connecticut divorce court has a great deal of flexibility is deciding whether there should be alimony.  If there has been a long marriage and one spouse has stayed home while the other spouse has worked, there is likely to be alimony.  If the marriage has been relatively short, both parties work, are healthy, and have fairly equal incomes, then it is unlikely that a divorce court will order alimony.

    Alimony can be awarded for a set amount of time.  For example, if a divorce court feels that a spouse needs some time to obtain schooling to learn an occupation or to return to a former occupation, the court can require that alimony be paid for the time it will take to finish that schooling and to be hired.

    The divorce decree can state whether the amount of alimony can be changed or whether the length of time that alimony is paid can be changed.

    If no alimony is awarded at the time of the divorce, neither party can return to divorce court and ask for alimony.

    A Connecticut divorce court can order that alimony stop if a certain event happens, such as if the spouse receiving alimony marries or lives with someone as if married.  Remarriage does not automatically terminate alimony.

    There are two types of alimony, periodic and lump sum, that may be ordered in a divorce.  Periodic alimony is paid at regular intervals, usually weekly.  Lump sum alimony is made in one or a few large payments.

    Unless the divorce court orders otherwise, the person who receives alimony pays income taxes on the amounts received.  The person who pays alimony can deduct the amount of payments from his or her income.  Alimony payments from a spouse in a higher tax bracket to a spouse in a lower tax bracket may result in more overall net income available to the parties because less taxes are paid overall.

    Filing bankruptcy will not cancel the requirement to pay alimony as long as the alimony is truly to support an ex-spouse.  If the bankruptcy court determines that the alimony really is part of a property division, then, in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy case, the bankruptcy court may cancel the alimony if the party paying it has the greater financial hardship.

    The divorce decree will often require that the person paying alimony obtain a life insurance policy with the person receiving alimony named as the beneficiary.

    A divorce court can punish a person who purposefully fails to pay alimony.  The divorce court can find the person to be in contempt of court and send the person to prison, require the person to pay the other party's attorneys fees, and order that property be turned over to the other party.

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