Many states have abandoned permanent alimony, with only a few states that still award it, you may be wondering where Delaware stands on this matter. While removing permanent alimony acts as a protection for the payee when they near retirement, at the same time, it is a major concern for the recipient who relies on this support. For now, Delaware continues to leave the award of permanent alimony to the discretion of the judge.
In Delaware, alimony is awarded during or after a spouse files for divorce. It is a court ordered payment by the higher earning spouse to a “dependent” spouse. Dependency is measured against the standard of living established during the marriage. The Court will also look at ten factors, most significantly, the reasonable needs of the lower-earning spouse, the standard of living during the marriage, and the ability to pay.
For marriages of less than 20 years, alimony can be awarded for 1/2 the length of the marriage. However, if a couple is married for 20 years or more, then alimony can be awarded indefinitely.
Once awarded by the Court, alimony can be modified upon a real and substantial change in circumstances. Alimony is also terminated upon the death of either party, the recipient’s remarriage, or the recipient’s cohabitation, the first to occur. Cohabitation is regularly residing with another adult and holding oneself out as a couple.
Renae Pagano is an associate of the MacElree Harvey Family Law Group. Should you have questions about obtaining or terminating alimony, please reach out to her for more information at [email protected]. Renae can also help you navigate matters involving divorce, property division, prenuptial agreements, custody, child support, and domestic violence.