Spousal Support (Alimony) Forms and Information by State
Alimony, or spousal support in most states, is financial support given to a spouse during a separation or divorce case. Alimony eases the transition for a spouse who has a lower earning ability while they become self-sufficient.
Alimony is gender-neutral. Either spouse may request spousal support. In nearly all states, there is no guarantee of a support order. The requesting party must show an actual need for support and that the respondent is able to pay.
Types of Support
There are several types of support considered during a divorce. Each state has its own rules, but they have many things in common. If you are considering divorce and believe you will need spousal support, you should get legal advice about alimony in your state.
- Temporary support: Also called “pendente lite" support. When couples separate before a divorce, the judge may issue temporary orders for support until the judge issues a permanent order.
- Rehabilitative support: This is the most common type of support. Alimony no longer lasts the recipient's lifetime. Alimony orders last for a specific period of time, usually half the duration of the marriage.
- Permanent support: Also called "indefinite" support. Court orders are seldom made for permanent support today. A judge may order permanent support if the recipient spouse is old, disabled, or otherwise unable to become self-sufficient.
In all states, the judge has discretion to award spousal support. The judge weighs a list of factors to decide if a spouse needs support. The spouse has a limited time for self-sufficiency. The factors include, but are not limited to:
- The duration of the marriage: Long-term marriages of 10 years or more are more likely to receive alimony. Some states will not award alimony to marriages under three years
- A showing of actual need and actual ability to pay: Judges will not impoverish one spouse to enrich the other
- A minor child requiring a stay-at-home parent: In rare cases, an infant might need full-time parental care not covered by the child support order. In that case, the judge would award additional alimony
- The earning ability and future prospects of each spouse
- The age and health of each spouse: The judge may order support if a spouse requires more health care or health insurance after the divorce
- The standard of living enjoyed by the couple during the marriage
- The contribution of each spouse to the marriage
- The amount and nature of marital property
Child support guidelines are separate from spousal support. They will not affect a marital support order. Child custody arrangements will not impact spousal support.
A domestic violence conviction in some states will bar a recipient from receiving support. In California, judges will not force a spouse to make support payments to their abuser. A restraining order can prevent a spouse from requesting support in other states.
State Forms and Laws
This list contains current links to state divorce forms where available. Some states may have additional requirements or restrictions. Always consult a divorce attorney in your area before filing for divorce or spousal support.
- Alabama E-Forms - (Alabama Court System).
- Spousal Support (Alaska Court System)
- Arizona Court Forms (Superior Court of AZ, Maricopa County)
- Court Forms (Arkansas Supreme Court)
- Colorado Family Law Forms (Colorado Judicial Branch)
- Family Law Forms (Connecticut Judicial Branch)
- Divorce and Annulment Instruction Packet (Delaware State Courts)
- Spousal Support Instructions [download]
In Delaware, "alimony" is financial support paid after the divorce is final. "Spousal support" is paid during a legal separation, with no divorce action pending. Delaware law (13 Del. C. § 502) requires spouses to support one another in need.
District of Columbia
- Alimony Fact Sheet (District of Columbia Bar Association)
- Family Law Forms (Florida Supreme Court)
- Supplemental Petition for Modification of Alimony [PDF] (Florida Supreme Court)
- Georgia Divorce Videos & Forms (State of Georgia)
Spousal support must be requested. It is separate from any child support or other awards. Adultery or abandonment will negate any claims for alimony.
- Facts about Getting a Divorce in Hawai'i (Hawaii State Judiciary)
- Idaho Forms (State of Idaho Judicial Branch)
- Illinois Divorce, Child Support, and Maintenance Forms (Illinois Courts)
Illinois uses a complex formula for calculating alimony. The duration and amount of support are based on the length of the marriage and the difference between the spouses' incomes.
- Divorce (Indiana Legal Help)
- Representing Yourself: Divorce/Family Law section (Iowa Judicial Branch)
- Domestic Court Forms [PDF] (Shawnee County District Court)
Kansas courts will not award alimony for more than 121 months. Parties may file for modification before or after that period.
- Legal Forms (Kentucky Court of Justice)
- Divorce Legal Forms (Louisiana District Court)
- Divorce and Family Separation (Maine Courts)
- Juvenile and Family Forms (Maryland Court)
- Alimony (Mass. Government Website)
Massachusetts allows a former spouse to petition for alimony after the divorce has been finalized. If the original complaint failed to mention alimony and the judge didn't enter it on the divorce decree, you can still ask for it if you need financial support.
- Spousal Support in a Nutshell (Michigan Legal Help)
Spousal support is not included in Michigan's self-help divorce worksheet. You will need a divorce attorney to request alimony.
- Family Court Forms (Fourth Judicial District)
- How is the amount of alimony determined? (Mississippi Bar)
- Dissolution of Marriage Forms (Missouri Courts)
- Ending Your Marriage (Montana Judicial Branch)
- Nebraska Online Legal Self-Help Center (Families & Children) (Nebraska Supreme Court)
- Family Law Self-Help Forms (Legal Aid of Southern Nevada)
- Divorce/Parenting Forms (New Hampshire Superior Court)
New Hampshire allows parties to file for alimony within five years of the divorce decree or annulment.
- Self-Help/Divorce (New Jersey Courts)
- New Mexico District Court Self-Help Guide (New Mexico Courts)
- Uncontested Divorce in New York (NYC Family Court)
- Separation and Divorce (Administrative Office of the Courts)
- Judicial Forms (North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts)
- North Dakota Legal Self-Help Family Law (North Dakota Supreme Court)
- Domestic Relations Court Forms (Lemont County)
- Oklahoma is a “non-form" state - Forms must be obtained from a legal service or a family law attorney.
- Forms for Dissolution (Divorce) and Dissolution of Registered Domestic Partnership (Oregon Judicial Branch)
- Filing for Dissolution (Divorce) (Oregon Judicial Branch)
- Divorce Proceedings (United Judicial System of Pennsylvania)
- Complaint for Divorce (Rhode Island Judiciary)
- Complaint for Separate Maintenance (Rhode Island Judiciary)
Rhode Island allows litigants to file a request for “separate maintenance," distinct from spousal support. Separate maintenance is used in separations and means the parties are not divorcing.
- Self-Represented Divorce (South Carolina Judicial Branch)
- General Divorce Page (South Dakota Legal Self Help)
- “I Need Legal Assistance" (Fee waiver/Filing Fee assistance)
- Court-Approved Divorce Forms (Tennessee Courts)
- Getting a Divorce in Utah (Utah Courts)
- Vermont Divorce Forms (Vermont Judiciary)
- Notice of Information Required in Child/Spousal Support Proceedings (DC-603) [PDF] (Virginia Courts)
- Instructions for DC-603 [PDF]
- Family Law Forms (Washington Courts)
- Family Court Forms (West Virginia Judiciary)
- Wisconsin Divorce and Family Law (Wisconsin Court System)
- Wyoming Family Law Forms (Wyoming Courts)
Have Questions About Alimony Forms in Your State? Speak With an Attorney Today
Besides alimony, the sheer volume of court forms surrounding legal filings in a divorce is astonishing. Child custody and parenting time, property division, and even retirement benefits are all part of the divorce decree. Finding a divorce attorney you trust makes all the difference in securing your financial security and giving you peace of mind. Don't go it alone; find an experienced divorce attorney in your area.
Can I Solve This on My Own or Do I Need an Attorney?
- You may not need an attorney for a simple divorce with uncontested issues
- Legal advice is critical to protect your interests in a contested divorce
- Divorce lawyers can help secure fair custody/visitation, support, and property division
An attorney is a skilled advocate during negotiations and court proceedings. Many attorneys offer free consultations.
Don't Forget About Estate Planning
Divorce is an ideal time to review your beneficiary designations on life insurance, bank accounts, and retirement accounts. You need to change your estate planning forms to reflect any new choices about your personal representative and beneficiaries. You can change your power of attorney if you named your ex-spouse as your agent. Also, change your health care directive to remove them from making your health care decisions.