How Long Do You Have To Pay Alimony?

September 1, 2021

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Getting a divorce is tough but fulfilling all the requirements & responsibilities that follow are even tougher. While getting a divorce, you need to sort out many issues like proper division, child support, and last but not least, spousal support or alimony. Alimony is a part of many divorces. 

Some ex-partners feel that they are naturally qualified to get vast amounts of cash every month. On the contrary, some partners believe that their ex-partners are getting money for sitting idle. However, support isn’t so easy. The main reason to pay alimony is to bridge the gap for those who largely depend on their partners for their survival. Now, the question is, how long do you have to pay?

This article clarifies the legal rules that characterize when alimony is payable and how long do you have to pay alimony?

What is Alimony?

“Spousal support” is the money one companion might need to pay the partner for their monetary help following a divorce. It is in some cases also known as “Alimony” or “Maintenance.”

The payor generally has to pay alimony every month. However, one can also pay it in a lump sum.

Types of Alimony

There are multiple types of alimony – 

  1. Temporary Alimony – It’s given at the time of divorce proceedings. The payments last until the divorce comes up with a final decision.
  2. Permanent Alimony – It is given to one spouse until their death, retirement, or remarriage.
  3. Rehabilitative Alimony – This type of alimony has a fixed date that the judge sets.
  4. Reimbursement Alimony – As the name implies, this type of alimony is given for any investment made into the other spouse’s education or business. 

Factors Considered When Making an Alimony

The Divorce Act (Canada) states that when making an alimony order, the court should contemplate the condition, means, needs, and different conditions of each spouse, including: 

  • how long they lived together; 
  • Functions they performed while living together; and 
  • any request, order, or agreement identifying with the support of each other
See also  Do I Have To Pay Alimony If My Wife Cheated?

However, the Family Law Act also suggests thinking about these factors too – 

  • If the paying spouse is living with someone else and contributing, then the ability to pay alimony to get increases.
  • Meanwhile, if the receipt partner lives with someone else and how much they contribute by doing so, it decreases the financial need.

Why does one spouse have to pay alimony to the other spouse?

A spouse might need to pay spousal help. At least one of the primary reasons for alimony set out in the Divorce Act gets to meet. They are: 

  1. Remunerate a spouse who sacrifices their capacity to earn income during the marriage; 
  1. to compensate a spouse for the care of the child, far beyond any child support commitment; or, 
  1. Helping a spouse in monetary need is emerging from the breakdown of the marriage. 

How Much Alimony to Pay?

The judge will look at all of the realities set out by both parties and think about the objectives, factors, and choices. Most importantly, if the partner requesting alimony is eligible for maintenance or not. On the contrary, if the judge finds out the spouse is unfit or allowed. The matter gets close at the same time.

Assuming the spouse is entitled to alimony, the judge will continue. Likewise, the judge will look at the objectives and the factors to make the final decision.

Did You Know?

‘Spousal Support Guidelines don’t come under the legal part, but instead are ideas that a group has made of Law Professors, legal advisors, and different specialists. However, judges will follow these rules in many cases even though they don’t need to. At the. Consequently, it is imperative to converse with a legal counselor to determine the amount of alimony.’

How do you calculate Alimony?

The estimation of alimony is perhaps the most perplexing space in family law. Many components should be considered to decide a sum that is reasonable and fitting for each situation. Most Canadian courts and family law experts utilize the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines while figuring out the alimony. Dissimilar to the Federal Child Support Guidelines, the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines are not law. Instead, they assist with ascertaining suitable spousal aid sums, whether for court orders or out-of-court settlements and arrangements.

  1. In the case of Children 
See also  How long do you have to be married to get alimony?

At this point, when parties have kids, the formula for calculating alimony gets tough. Thus, it’s better to use special software to get the exact amounts.

However, generally, the formula calculates the net disposable income of each party after paying all taxes and deductions. Afterward, compute the amount of alimony to be paid that would leave the beneficiary somewhere in the range of 40 and 46% of the absolute of the two parties’ net disposable income. 

2. In the case without Children

  • Low End Amount

1. Calculate the difference between the gross incomes of each of the parties. 

2. Next, multiply that difference by .015 

3. Now, multiply that number by the number of years the parties have lived together. The result is a “low-end amount.”

  • High-End Amount

1. Firstly, find the difference between the gross incomes of the two parties. 

2. After that, multiply that number by .02 

3. Finally, multiply that number by the number of years the parties lived together. The result is the high-end amount.

How long do I have to pay Alimony?

The time frame of alimony exclusively depends on the factors discussed above. However, Spousal Support Guidelines offer assistance to the courts and judges for taking the right decision on how long is alimony paid.

Moreover, both the parties can also negotiate themselves, or the court determines the period of paying the alimony. The judge also considers for long you both were together. 

Below are the averages based on the marriage length that will give you an idea of how long alimony lasts.

  • If you’re the one who has shared life for more or less than five years, then you’re likely to get the alimony for almost half of the length of the marriage.
  • If you fall in the range of 10 to 20 years, then you’re liable to pay for almost 60 – 70 percent of the length of your marriage.
  • In the case of 20+ years, then it will be lifelong. It means you have to pay until they get remarried, retired, or pass away.
See also  How long do you have to be married to get alimony?

What happens in the double-dipping case?

Mostly in long-term relationships, the partners divide the property, including pension plans. Hence, if that’s the case, then the payor will be surviving on their pension share. So if they continue paying alimony, then the other spouse will be double-dipping. It means receiving the property share as well as the alimony. Hence, in that case, the payout may ask the court to reduce or terminate the alimony. 

Fact Check !!

‘The Divorce Act of Canada and Family Law Act states that while making the alimony orders, the priority must always first be given to the Child Support over the alimony to reduce the payor doesn’t have enough money. However, it can be revised by the court after children become grown.’

When can you stop paying the Alimony?

The parties can check all the details and the exact period from the court documents. You must continue paying for it unless – 

  • There’s a change in the court’s order;
  • Both parties want to change the agreement, and 
  • The stated conditions were met as laid down by the court.


It’s clear from the above content that the duration of paying the alimony depends upon the situation of the case, the factors, and the objectives laid down by the case. However, they are also subject to change with the change in circumstances additionally, if both the parties come up together with a mutual conclusion.

In the end, if you want to achieve the exact alimony amount and for how long you have to pay. It’s always better to connect with the local lawyers. They can guide you the best.

You can also get free consultation from one of the best family lawyers here.