Alimony & Post Separation Support Articles

Frequent Family Law Questions


Post Separation Support & Alimony

Post separation support and alimony are recognized remedies that enable a dependent spouse to meet reasonable needs during and after a divorce. In awarding spousal support, the court must take into account a number of economic factors. The court may entertain an application for post-separation support at any time after spouses have separated. A judge may require a hearing on the issue of post separation support. Post Separation Support claims are often decided by written affidavits rather than a trial or hearing. Alimony claims on the other hand, if not settled by agreement, are decided by the court after a trial. The alimony trial generally does not take place until after the Equitable Distribution claim has been decided.

The court will consider several factors in an award of post-separation support and alimony. They include:

  • the misconduct of either spouse
  • the earnings (from whatever source) and earning capacity of each spouse
  • extent to which a spouse’s earning potential and financial obligations are affected by custody of minor children
  • assets of the marriage other than earnings (medical benefits, retirement, social security and dividends)
  • the length of the marriage
  • the family’s standard of living
  • significant contributions of one spouse to the earning potential of the other (education, training, etc.)
  • the ages of the spouses
  • the physical, mental or emotional conditions of each of the spouses
  • the relative education of each spouse and the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable a dependent spouse to meet reasonable economic needs
  • Assets and liabilities of the spouses, including those separate from marital property
  • the contribution of a spouse as a homemaker
  • tax ramifications of an award of alimony
  • previous considerations made by the court during equitable distribution of marital property
  • any other factor the court deems appropriate

Post separation-support and alimony, when ordered by a court, terminate automatically upon the occurrence of the first of the following events:

  • when all payments specified in order have been made;
  • the dependent spouse remarries;
  • the dependent spouse engages in cohabitation;
  • the dependent spouse dies; or
  • the supporting spouse dies.

In order to receive post-separation support or alimony, a finding of dependency by a court is not required. If the parties can agree to the issues surrounding spousal support, the terms of alimony can be incorporated into your Separation Agreement.

Firm Awards