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What are the 2 primary purposes that alimony serves?

| Sep 10, 2021 | Divorce

Alimony is a monthly payment made by one spouse to another, either as part of a divorce settlement or under court order. Alimony aims to minimize any unjust financial repercussions of a divorce by providing a continuing source of support to a spouse that either doesn’t have a source of income or a lower one that’s lower than their husband or wife.

It’s not uncommon for a spouse who chose to give up their career to care for their family to argue that they require alimony while acquiring job skills to support themselves. Alimony may also allow a spouse to continue their previous standard of living despite changes in income and other factors.

How rehabilitative and reimbursement alimony differ

There are two types primary types of alimony awards that exist:

  • Rehabilitative: The court may order a paying spouse to remit payments to their ex until they become self-sufficient. This can take some time as this may involve a spouse going back to school or building their career. Eventually, the recipient spouse won’t need such financial assistance anymore. The court regularly reassesses a spouse’s situation when they receive rehabilitative alimony to see if it should be continued, halted or otherwise adjusted.
  • Reimbursement: This type of alimony aims to help a spouse recover funds associated with expenses they covered during the marriage. A popular example of this is when one spouse uses their job to support their partner during their enrollment in an academic program. A spouse’s payment of this type of alimony is generally time-limited or focused on achieving certain financial goals. 

As a side note, the court can order permanent alimony when a spouse has an illness or handicap. 

Many factors influence how much alimony a court may award and whether such payments will be temporary or permanent. You’ll want to carefully weigh the different options that exist before demanding alimony in your case.