Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Opinion Article

When Can I Stop Paying Spousal Support?

Spousal support, also known as alimony, is one of the most contentious issues in a divorce settlement. It often sparks heated debate between former partners and can significantly impact their financial and emotional well-being. But when can you stop paying alimony? The answer is complex and depends on various factors, including the terms outlined in the support order. In this opinion article, I will explore the different aspects of spousal support and provide my perspective on when it is reasonable to terminate alimony payments.

The purpose of spousal support

The primary reason for awarding spousal support is to ensure that a spouse who earned less or didn't generate any income during the marriage can maintain the standard of living similar to what they had during the marriage. Spousal support is not a punishment but aimed at providing financial support to the less-earning spouse. Usually, the spouse who earns more income or has a higher net worth is required to pay alimony.

Is there a fixed duration for spousal support?

Spousal support can be temporary or permanent. Usually, temporary support is awarded during the divorce proceedings and ends after a specific period, usually, until the divorce is finalised. Permanent spousal support is granted when the less-earning spouse is unable to support themselves or when there is a significant income gap between the former partners.

Can spousal support be terminated?

In most cases, spousal support is not terminated immediately, and the paying spouse is obligated to pay until the court order is modified or terminated. The court may terminate spousal support if the receiving spouse remarries, the paying spouse retires, become disabled or loses their job. The court can also terminate if the receiving spouse starts earning a significant income or has completed their education or job training and can now support themselves. Additionally, if the paying spouse can prove that the receiving spouse is cohabiting with someone in a marital-like relationship, they may petition the court to terminate support.

My opinion on terminating spousal support

In my opinion, spousal support should only be terminated if the receiving spouse can support themselves adequately, has got remarried or is cohabiting with someone. Beneath this, they should not stop paying. A court awarding spousal support is based on the claimant's inability to maintain the standard of living after their marriage ends, and it is essential to consider this aspect while deciding to terminate. If you are a paying spouse, I would advise you to accrue some savings that can enable you to pay the alimony until termination legally.


Spousal support is a crucial issue in a divorce case and requires careful consideration before terminating. It is essential to understand that the court awards spousal support not to punish the paying spouse but to provide financial support to the receiving spouse. Whether you're paying or receiving spousal support, it is always recommended to hire a family law attorney who can guide you through the process.

Stop paying spousal support - Spousal, Alimony