How Alimony Works in Connecticut Divorces
Many people, including this gentleman, wonder about how alimony (also referred to as “spousal support”) works in Connecticut when they are in the initial stages of deciding to divorce or divorcing. Unlike in some other states, there is no formula for alimony in Connecticut.
What is Alimony?
In Connecticut, alimony (also called “spousal support”) is money paid by one spouse to another (either during the divorce, or upon the divorce becoming final), towards the other spouse’s living expenses. It can be limited to a term of years or payable for a lifetime, depending on the particular circumstances of the case.
Alimony Factors in Connecticut Divorces
Unlike in some other states, there is no formula for alimony in Connecticut. Instead, there are multiple factors that the court considers. While income plays an important role in the determination of alimony, alimony is a much more complex proposition. Other factors include the length of the marriage, each spouse’s age, health, and need for support, causes of the divorce, earning capacity of the spouses, property division in the divorce, and the existence of prenuptial agreements, among others. Judges may take these factors into consideration when determining whether there will be alimony, and, if so, the amount of alimony and the length of time during which it will be paid. Judges have broad discretion in awarding alimony — they need not give each factor equal weight.
In addition to the statutory factors, Connecticut case law on alimony is dynamic and evolving, so when you hire counsel you want to make sure you find a legal team well-versed in the nuances.
Three Main Types of Alimony in Connecticut
Judges in Connecticut can order three types of alimony: (1) temporary alimony while the divorce is pending (also called “pendente lite”), (2) rehabilitative (relatively short-term), and (3) open ended (also called “lifetime”). When determining whether any type(s) of alimony is appropriate, the court will consider the various factors explained above.
Pendente Lite Alimony While a Divorce is Pending
Depending on their situation, some spouses have alimony orders in place while a divorce is pending. The pendente lite alimony award is not necessarily indicative of what the post-divorce spousal support order (if any) will look like.
Rehabilitative or Time Limited Spousal Support
Rehabilitative support is generally an element in cases where the lesser-earning spouse can become self-supporting, but needs time and financial support to do so. The recipient spouse may receive rehabilitative support while attending school or obtaining the necessary professional skills to enter or re-enter the job market. Rehabilitative support may phase down or end as the court determines to be appropriate.
Lifetime or Open Ended Alimony
Lifetime alimony used to be more common, but is now becoming increasingly rare. In the past (and in some marriages today), one spouse can’t become self-supporting after the divorce, due to advanced age, disability, or some other reason that decreases earning capacity. In cases where one spouse can’t become financially independent, the court may require the other spouse to provide financial support permanently.
The Comprehensive Connecticut Alimony Guide
Alimony is one of the most important issues in divorces. And, it’s one of the most confusing. There are no set formulas or rules on (1) whether there will be alimony, and, if so, (2) how it’s calculated or (3) how long it will last. The good news is that this means there is tremendous flexibility to craft an individualized approach. In order to prepare to make solid and informed decisions, you need to understand how alimony works. Our Comprehensive Connecticut Alimony Guide tells you everything you need to know about alimony in Connecticut.
The specifics of how alimony might work for you depends on the ins and outs of your situation and your goals.
Our first step at Freed Marcroft, the Goals & Planning Conference, is designed to get to the heart of your problem and unveil your true goals for your life. Once we discover your goals for your life, we are able to take all of our collective experience with divorce, law, the available ways to divorce, strategy, courts, judges, and other lawyers, and build a divorce customized for you.