Alimony is financial support made to a spouse during and after a divorce. Under state law, spouses have a duty to financially support each other, and alimony acknowledges that this duty can continue even after a divorce or legal separation. This is separate from any child support one spouse may be required to provide, based on the nature of the child custody.
How Can You Qualify for Alimony?
Alimony is awarded on a case-by-case basis in Connecticut, and there is not a set formula used to calculate awards. Instead, the courts evaluate a series of factors:
- The length of the marriage,
- The reason for the couple’s divorce, legal separation, or annulment,
- Each spouse’s age and health,
- Each spouse’s earning capacity, occupation, and employability,
- Each spouse’s financial resources and needs, and
- If there are children, whether the custodial parent can and should work.
Overall, you must prove that you financially require alimony—and that the other party can provide the financial support.
How Much Alimony Can You Receive in Connecticut?
Connecticut does not have a limit or cap on alimony. Instead, the courts must weigh the factors discussed above and determine how much support is appropriate. Under certain circumstances, alimony awards can be millions of dollars (but are typically more modest). While legislation has been occasionally proposed that would limit Connecticut alimony, none of these bills have been successful thus far.
How Long Does Alimony Last in Connecticut?
Connecticut awards alimony on both a temporary and permanent basis—including while a divorce is pending (sometimes called “support pendente lite”). Historically, alimony was often awarded to stay-at-home spouses on a permanent basis. However, courts now view alimony as a rehabilitative measure, and many alimony awards are now temporary (giving a spouse time to obtain job training and employment).
How Do You Petition for Alimony?
Again, alimony can be awarded even before a divorce is finalized. To request alimony, you should file a motion with the court. Both parties must also complete a financial affidavit. The type of affidavit you fill out will depend on your income or total assets, either more or less than $75,000. If you plan to file a motion for alimony, seriously consider hiring a lawyer before you file for divorce. Connecticut does not have a standardized form for alimony requests, so each motion must be drafted from scratch. It also can be difficult for the average person to calculate and negotiate alimony awards.
Additionally, an increasing number of couples are negotiating alimony in their settlement agreement. If you and your spouse can agree to a fair alimony amount, you can resolve this issue without the court’s involvement. You can also petition to have an alimony award modified under certain circumstances. Typically, you must show a substantial change in circumstances that merits a change in alimony payments.
Where Can You Find the Right Lawyer?
Petitioning or modifying an alimony award can be contentious and complicated. A Connecticut family lawyer can help you file a motion with the court, calculate a fair alimony award, and negotiate with your spouse.