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Spousal support remains one of the burning questions in many divorce cases. Whether you receive or need to pay out alimony, you will likely wonder how long the alimony will last. Sometimes alimony is temporary, while in other cases it lasts for the lifetime of one of the spouses. Resolving the duration of alimony will likely depend upon the circumstances of the married couple.

FindLaw provides a rundown of the different factors a judge will consider while determining whether to award alimony and how long it will last. Strong factors include the current state of the marriage and its spouses. Judges will look at the current standard of living enjoyed by the spouses and the financial resources each spouse possesses. A judge may be more inclined to grant alimony if one spouse would likely suffer a sharp decline in living standards from the divorce.

Judges may also consider the health and the age of both spouses. A spouse with a health problem or is advancing in years and does not have many prime earning years left may suffer financially from the divorce without support. Also, one spouse in a long marriage may have grown financially dependent on the other. By contrast, a couple married for a short time might still retain enough independence to live separately without any trouble.

Spouses that break up may want to go back to school and seek a degree in a new field so that they can find new areas of employment. However, they might find it hard to live on their own while they educate themselves. Judges may consider the time a spouse needs to complete an education or other employment training and award alimony for the spouse for this period of time.

Judges may evaluate anything that they deem appropriate to determine whether someone may receive alimony and for how long. Even if a judge awards permanent alimony, the receiving spouse may lose that alimony by marrying a new spouse, unless the judge had arranged the support differently.