Can I get alimony? For how many years would I get the payments?
Your spouse can be ordered to pay you alimony if the judge finds that you were financially dependent on your spouse during the marriage. You can prove you were “dependent” if all of the following apply:
- you relied on your spouse for financial support,
- you don’t have sufficient property (including marital property) to provide for your needs, and
- you are unable to support yourself through work or you cannot work due to caring for a child whose condition makes it “inappropriate” for you to work.*
Even if you can prove you are “the dependent party,” there are still many factors a judge will consider when deciding if you will get alimony and how much you will get. See What factors will a judge consider when deciding whether or not I get alimony? for more information.
Alimony payments can be ordered to start while the divorce is still pending in court (known as interim or temporary alimony)** and for a period of time after the divorce is finalized. The court will determine how long you or the other party will receive alimony. If you have been married for 20 years or longer, there is no limit to how long you can receive alimony. However, if you were married for less than 20 years, you cannot collect alimony for more than 50% of the length of the marriage.*** For example, if you were married for 10 years, you could only collect alimony for up to 5 years.
* 13 Del.C. § 1512(a),(b)
** 13 Del.C. § 1512(a)
*** 13 Del.C. § 1512(d)