How Long do You Have to be Married to Get Alimony?

The subject of how long you must be married to receive alimony is one that many people ponder. Although the answer can be complicated and ambiguous, there are some simple basic rules for alimony applications.

Spouses in a short-term marriage frequently ask this question, mainly because they are unsure whether a court will order alimony due to their short marriage.

This article will look at how the length of a marriage affects both the spouse who is paying alimony and the spouse who is receiving maintenance.

Does the Length of the Marriage Matter?

Only in permanent alimony does the length of the marriage matter. Temporary alimony will still be an option, regardless of the length of the marriage. When a marriage lasts fewer than ten years, however, permanent alimony is usually only paid for half the time the marriage lasted.

For instance, a seven-year marriage can receive three and a half years of alimony. However, this law is not cast on a rock, as the couple or a court may decide on various conditions depending on the circumstances.

It must be stated that judges look at a whole plethora of circumstances before deciding to award alimony or not. You can read more about these here.

Impact of Length of Marriage on Type of Alimony Awarded

types of alimony

The type of alimony requested also impacts the award

It depends a lot on the type of alimony you want and how long you’ve been married. The law currently differentiates between short-term, mid-term, and long-term marriages. This was part of a survey of lawyers’ observations about the award of spousal support throughout the US.

Different sorts of alimony are available depending on the type of marriage. Remember, there are basically four types of alimony:

– Temporary
– Permanent
– Rehabilitative
– Reimbursement

Temporary Alimony and Length of Marriage

In most states, judges will grant temporary alimony in the case of couples who have been married for 6-12 months or longer while their divorce is ongoing.

Although the court may impose alimony for only half the period of the marriage in a very short marriage, if the halfway duration of the marriage is less than the period of months the divorce is ongoing, the court may issue alimony for only half the length of the marriage.

For instance, in a five-month marriage, the court may grant temporary alimony for two and a half months with a cut-off date rather than continuing it for the duration of the divorce process.

Howbeit, if you can prove to the court that you require alimony based on your marital standard of living and that the other partner can afford it, you have a good chance of winning temporary alimony.

How Long do you Have to be Married to get Alimony?

The length of marriage required to get alimony differs greatly from state to state. While a few states require that you have been married for at least 10 years, others limit the amount of support you can receive instead of specifying how long you must have been married.

Many attorneys in most states have observed that the courts consider six months to be a reasonable amount of time before awarding any type of alimony. However, this is not a hard and fast rule; a court may grant alimony in a three-week marriage but not in a nineteen-year marriage. It all depends on the circumstances of the marriage and divorce.

If you need to know if you’re eligible for a divorce, you should speak with a divorce and alimony attorney. Based on their prior experiences, they can offer you an indication of what to expect.

how long a marriage lasted impacts alimony award

How long a marriage lasted impacts the alimony award

Alimony in Short Term Divorce

Following a short marriage, some spouses ask “can i get alimony after 2 years of marriage?” By very short marriages, we are referring to marriages that lasted less than a year before the divorce.

In a divorce, even one-day marriages are theoretically eligible for alimony, but the asking spouse must make a strong case. Judges, however, don’t want to be seen as encouraging gold-digging, therefore they mostly consider how long the marriage lasted.

Judges are less likely to grant spousal maintenance to couples who have been married for less than a year. They are more likely to grant alimony in such brief marriages if there is a considerable income discrepancy between the couples or if one spouse would be placed in a dire financial condition if alimony is not awarded.

Alimony in Mid-length and Long-term Marriages

After a mid-length marriage (7 to 16 years) or a long-term marriage (17 years or more), you’re quite likely to receive rehabilitative alimony, which often involves financial assistance to help you learn a skill or obtain a degree that will help you re-enter the workforce.

However, in order to obtain this type of alimony, you must submit to the court a rehabilitative plan. It typically outlines that you are going to school at a stipulated institution. The degree you intend to pursue, how long it will take, your needs to make it a reality, and what you anticipate earning at the end of the day.


There are no simple solutions to any of the questions you’ve posed to me.

Many states do not have established guidelines for how long a marriage should last before a judge grants alimony. However, a judge is less likely to grant alimony if:

The marriage didn’t last for several years (a very short marriage),
Nothing prevents the requesting spouse from going to work (ie no children at home, etc.),
The seeking spouse has never worked and hence does not need to get back on his or her feet.

Deborah Kelly

Deborah Kelly

As a proud single mom who has seen it all, I encourage others by sharing my experiences & curating content on divorce, adoption, child & spousal support. My passion also includes spending quality time with my kids and giving back to my community.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply