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Divorce Law

What Are the Different Types of Spousal Support?

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By Lonnie Nelson
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What are the different types of spousal support

Spousal support is money ordered by the court to be paid from one spouse to the other during a divorce case, in order to help maintain or improve standard of living, or assist an ailing partner become self-reliant.

Reimbursing someone may be tax deductible for you as the payer while still tax deductible for them, depending on circumstances and length of time spent being reimbursed. Reimbursement agreements may be temporary or permanent depending on circumstances.

Temporary Alimony

Temporary support payments typically made during divorce proceedings are designed to cover living expenses and attorney fees incurred by a lower-earning spouse, in addition to paying attorney fees and costs associated with case administration. Most experienced divorce attorneys will include these costs when filing motions for temporary support.

Temporary alimony can either be short-term or long-term and it often comes in installments rather than one lump sum payment. However, unlike permanent alimony arrangements which cannot be changed or adjusted at will in the future due to court decreed economic factors and ability of both payor and payee earning an income in future years, temporary payments may be modified depending on circumstances arising after court order and ability of payee to produce income later on.

Rehabilitative alimony aims to provide spouses with the tools they need to become self-supporting quickly, usually by going back to school. It is considered in the best interests of lower earning spouses as it doesn’t simply hand them money without any mandate to find work; also allowing the court to avoid making an irreversible decision without considering all relevant factors over a longer timeframe.

Rehabilitative Alimony

Rehabilitative alimony is intended to give the spouse who spent most of the marriage at home time to obtain training or education necessary to return to the work force, covering cost of living expenses until that person can support themselves independently.

Rehabilitative alimony usually lasts for a specific length of time. If it takes the spouse longer than expected to gain job skills and enter the workforce, however, a judge could extend or modify this term of payments accordingly.

Judges take many factors into consideration when calculating spousal support payments for ex-spouses, including state guidelines, need, ability to pay, length of marriage, standard of living during that marriage and assets distribution – although sometimes fault may even come into the picture (although this practice has become less frequent over time).

Lump-Sum Alimony

Judges sometimes order that dependent spouses receive lump-sum alimony payments instead of monthly installments, to help them recover financially from a failed marriage and move on with life after it. Recipients could use this monetary assistance for buying new homes, paying tuition/training/education fees for job training programs/education, or starting their own businesses.

With a lump sum payment, the receiving spouse can stop worrying about their former partner’s ability to return to work, though if their former partner later needs additional financial support or pursue their career goals they can request that the court alter their support amount accordingly.

Permanent spousal support normally ends upon either of two events: either when one spouse remarries or dies; however, it can end earlier if either partner cohabitates with someone new, or there is an increase in income that renders certain payments untenable for either partner. Furthermore, courts can modify permanent support orders according to various circumstances.

Reimbursement Alimony

Reimbursement support, the only type of alimony not determined by financial need, compensates a spouse who gave up their professional career to assist the other partner obtain an advanced degree that increased earning potential. While they might have anticipated receiving future compensation for this sacrifice, reimbursement alimony gives this spouse an opportunity to recoup expenses should their marriage end prematurely.

Many spouses require assistance reentering the workforce after separation or divorce, but finding employment that provides enough income to maintain their former standard of living may prove challenging.

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