Spousal Support – Alimony
What is Alimony or Spousal Support in CT?
Alimony, which is the same as spousal support, is money paid by one spouse to another either during the divorce as pendente lite temporary support, or upon the divorce becoming final, towards the receiving spouse’s living and other expenses. It can be limited to a term of years, or payable for a lifetime, depending on the particular circumstances of the case.
How does the Court determine how much alimony will be paid and for how long?
There are no firm numeric guidelines for alimony in Connecticut. It can be for a set term (rehabilitative) or lifetime (usually until there is a substantial change in circumstances such as the payor’s retirement). However, the Court may consider certain factors when determining the amount and duration of alimony, including:
- length of the marriage;
- cause of the breakdown of the marriage;
- age and health of the parties;
- each party’s income and employability;
- each party’s earning capacity;
- assets and needs of each party; and
- which parent is primarily caring for the parties’ minor children.
In assessing what is appropriate alimony in your particular case, it is important that your attorney uses financial software to calculate the after-tax consequences of an alimony order (alimony is no longer tax-deductible by the payor spouse or taxable to the payee spouse) so that you understand how the alimony order impacts your bottom line disposal income.
Connecticut’s “Cohabitation Statute”:
Pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. §46b-86(b), alimony may be suspended, reduced or terminated upon the showing of two factors: (1) the alimony recipient is living with another person and (2) those living arrangements cause such a change of circumstances so as to alter the financial needs of that alimony recipient. If you believe your former spouse meets the definition of cohabitation under the statute, it is important to contact an experienced attorney to understand your rights, as the Court order must be modified in order for the alimony obligation to be altered. Most divorce judgments issued by the Court, or through a negotiated agreement, will include language that alimony terminates upon the remarriage of the recipient spouse, and that a motion may be filed to modify or terminate the alimony obligation upon the cohabitation of the recipient spouse.
Are alimony orders modifiable post-judgment?
Pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. §46b-86, alimony orders are modifiable based upon a “substantial change of circumstances” such as cohabitation under Connecticut statute, or based upon other changes in circumstances such as the loss of a job by the payor spouse or the securing of employment by the alimony recipient, unless the alimony order specifically precludes modification. A motion must be filed and the court order modified in order for the alimony obligation to be altered.
Contact me for assistance with your alimony matter:
For a consultation regarding alimony or spousal support, modification of an alimony order, or enforcement of an alimony order, please call my office at (203) 557-0557 or complete the contact form on this site. My office is conveniently located at 246 Post Road East in Westport, Connecticut.