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When a marriage ends in divorce, one spouse may receive monetary support from the other.  Oftentimes, the receiving spouse must be unable to support themselves without the help of their ex-spouse.  Depending on the state, support may be based on a series of factors, such as the age of the parties, the length of the marriage, degrees earned (if any) etc.  Payments may be in one lumps sum, or in a series of monthly payments.  Duration of alimony is often based on the length of the marriage; in other words, the longer the marriage, the longer the duration of alimony payments.