Alimony in D.C.
n What do I do if I want alimony?
Parties in a divorce or legal separation proceeding can privately
agree to an alimony arrangement, or the person in need of support
can ask the judge to grant alimony as part of the divorce or legal
separation. If you are seeking an annulment, you could receive tem-
porary alimony while the case is pending, but cannot receive indef-
inite alimony after an annulment is granted.
n Can I get alimony before the divorce is final?
Temporary alimony (sometimes called pendente lite alimony) can be
granted while the divorce is in progress, to help one spouse get by
until the divorce is final. When the divorce becomes final, the tem-
porary alimony will stop, and the court will decide whether to
award post-divorce alimony. If alimony is awarded, the amount may
be different from the amount of the temporary alimony.
n What if I don’t ask for alimony during the divorce, but later
decide I need it?
You must request alimony during your divorce or legal separation
proceedings. You will not be allowed to request it for the first time
after the case is over.
n What do I do if my spouse wants alimony and I do not agree?
If you do not think you can afford to pay alimony, or if you think
your spouse does not need financial support from you, you can tell
the judge, in your pleadings (legal documents) or in court, why you
should not have to pay alimony. The judge will decide if an alimony
award should be made and, if so, for what amount and for how long.
n How long can I receive alimony?
If you and your spouse agree, alimony can be for however long you
want. If you do not agree, the judge will decide whether alimony
will be temporary, indefinite, or structured in some other way that
is appropriate for your situation.
Indefinite alimony lasts until the death of one party or a change
ordered by the court or agreed upon by the parties. Term-limited
alimony (also called rehabilitative alimony) lasts for the period of
time ordered by the court or agreed upon by the part