When Does Permanent Alimony End?

There are various forms of alimony, and permanent alimony is one of them. From the name, you might think that permanent alimony is a forever arrangement. However, there are cases where permanent alimony can end. Below are some of these cases.


There are several automatic ways to end permanent alimony arrangements. The first is death of either party. If the receiving spouse dies, the paying spouse's obligation ends. This means the paying spouse will not be compelled to pay any more alimony to the deceased's estate. At the same time, if the paying spouse passes on, their surviving estate doesn't inherit the alimony obligations.


Another way in which permanent alimony can end is if the receiving spouse remarries. This is because alimony is meant to help the receiving partner to maintain the same standard of living they used to enjoy during the marriage. If the receiving partner remarries, then they are expected to chart a new standard of living with their new partner. Thus, the paying spouse is not expected to continue making the alimony payments.


It is not just a legal marriage that can end permanent alimony; even cohabitation has the same effect in some states. If the receiving spouse begins to live with another person, the assumption is that the two can take care of each other just as they would if they were married.

In states where cohabitation matters, the paying spouse just needs to prove that the new couple's living arrangement meets the state's definition of cohabitation. Some of the common factors states consider include whether the couple have the same mail address, sleep in the same house, spend free time together, and parent their children together.

Prenuptial Agreement

Lastly, permanent alimony might also end if the circumstances meet the conditions stipulated in a prenuptial agreement. This is possible because spousal support is one of the issues that couples routinely tackle in a prenuptial agreement. For example, you may agree with your spouse that, upon divorce, any alimony arrangement would end if the receiving spouse starts earning above a given amount per year. In such a case, the paying spouse just needs to prove that the prenuptial agreement is legally binding, and the relevant condition has been met.

As you can see, permanent alimony is never really permanent in the literal meaning of the word. What is more, you can modify permanent alimony, and the modification may even be relatively easier than stopping it altogether. Consult a divorce lawyer if you are struggling with alimony or believe that the current arrangement needs to change.