Spousal Support (Alimony)

Spousal support is money the court may order one spouse to pay as temporary or ongoing support to another spouse as part of a divorce order. (Spousal support used to be called “alimony.”)

The court often will order spousal support when one spouse makes significantly more money than the other spouse. The type, amount, and length of time for spousal support depends upon many factors.

Types of Spousal Support

Maine law provides for five (5) types of spousal support as part of a divorce case:

1. Interim Support

Interim support is money awarded to a spouse while the divorce case is pending.

2. General Support

General support is usually awarded to a spouse with substantially less income potential than the other spouse in order to maintain a certain standard of living.

  • In most cases, courts will award general spousal support only when the marriage lasted longer than ten years.

3. Transitional Support

Transitional support is awarded to a spouse on a short-term basis to assist with the necessary changes after divorce, such as re-entry into the workforce or establishing a separate residence.

4. Reimbursement Support

In rare cases, reimbursement support may be awarded to achieve an equitable (fair) result in the divorce judgment due to economic misconduct by a spouse, or because a spouse made substantial contributions to the other spouse's educational or occupational training during the marriage.

5. Nominal Support

Nominal support is a very small amount of money awarded to act as a "placeholder" so that changes to the spousal support order may be made later. If your divorce order provides for $0 in spousal support, you will not be able to ask a court to change the amount at a later time. See Changing or Enforcing an Order in a Family Matters Case.

What factors does a court consider when determining spousal support?

The factors the court considers are listed in this section of the Maine Revised Statutes.

Can a spousal support award be changed?

Yes, a court may change the spousal support order at a later time. See Changing or Enforcing an Order in a Family Matters Case.

If my original divorce judgment does not award spousal support, can I come back to court and ask for it?

No.