Permanent alimony continues indefinitely. The main bases for ceasing payments of permanent alimony are the death of the payor, the death of the recipient, or the remarriage of the recipient. Cohabitation of the recipient with a member of the opposite sex also is a common basis for cessation of permanent alimony. Generally, the cohabitation needs to be of a permanent or near-permanent nature, with the parties who are living together sharing living expenses. A few overnight visits usually do not constitute cohabitation for the purpose of stopping alimony payments.
Unless an agreement between the parties says otherwise, payments of permanent alimony can be adjusted upwards or downwards based on a change of circumstances. If the recipient gains employment at a well-paying job or receives a significant amount of money from another source, that might be a basis for reducing alimony payments. If the recipient incurs unexpected medical expenses (that are not covered by insurance), that might be a basis for increasing alimony payments, if the spouse paying alimony has the ability to pay more.
A drop in income by the payor, including at retirement, can be a basis for reducing alimony. Courts may examine the reason for a drop in income. If the drop in income of the payor is in good faith or not through the fault of the payor, the court is more likely to approve a reduction in alimony. If the drop in income seems to have been engineered by the payor to create a basis for reducing alimony, the court is more likely to disapprove a reduction in alimony.