Differences Between Alimony, Spousal Support and Rehabilitative Support

There are several different kinds of spousal support someone might be required to pay after going through a divorce and they are set forth by state laws depending on where you live. Understanding the differences in these different kinds of payments is very important as some are short term, while others may remain for years, if not decades.

Alimony/Temporary Spousal Support

In legal terms, this is often referred to as pendent lite. Basically, it is temporary support to a former spouse when both sides are separated and divorce is not yet finalized. Alimony, or temporary spousal support is offered during this time so the spouse is able to maintain their current lifestyle between the point of separation and divorce. It is usually awarded through a temporary court order.

Rehabilitative Spousal Support/Alimony

This kind of spousal support is offered up for a short period of time in order to help someone “rehabilitate” themselves. This is paid to the individual so that they can receive money while seeking out job training, attending college or while obtaining the necessary job experience in order to become self-sufficient. It is often also paid to a mother of a small child so the mother is able to stay at home with the child until the child is old enough to go to school. This kind of spousal support or alimony had a set period of time, usually determined in court. Due to this, there basically is an end date for when the payments stop. Both parties are able to come to an agreed upon timeline while in court. Now, the court system is always able to look at the kind of spousal support being paid and if it should continue on or if it should end when it is set to end. This means that while there is an end date, it is possible for it to be extended.

Permanent Spousal Support

The name basically says what this kind of spousal support is all about. It is money that is going to be paid out to a former spouse until one of three things happens. First, the payer dies, which means there is no more money coming in and the spouse now is no longer going to receive money. Should the recipient of the money die, they naturally are no longer able to collect checks, so the payer does not need to issue payments any longer. The third option that can bring a stop to spousal payments is if the recipient of the permanent spousal support is repaired. Now, there are some times where it can continue in the event of a remarriage of the ex-spouse. This kind of spousal support and child support can be adjusted as time goes by, based on how much someone is making. So, if they receive a promotion, the recipient can file to have support increased. If the person starts to make significantly less, they can file to have their payments cut down. Either way, this form of payment generally lasts a long time.

Reimbursement Spousal Support

This kind of spousal support is paid out so one of the former spouses can be reimbursed for expenses they have incurred. One example is a married couple had one person attend law school while the other person worked to pay for the law school. The reimbursement spousal support would pay back the money paid for the school in the form of this spousal support.

It is best that you speak with your divorce attorney about all of the different spousal support options and what you can expect.