For many couples divorcing, alimony is never considered. Perhaps many believe it to be a thing of the past, but alimony is not only alive and well  but a much-needed benefit to some. Some spouses would be unable to maintain their current standard of living without it, and this is exactly why alimony (called spousal support in many cases) is so valuable. There are actually three main types of alimony, so read on to earn more.

Who needs alimony and why?

Alimony came about as a way of compensating the spouse who could face financial hardships after a divorce for various reasons. For some, the reasons are age or health related. For example, a spouse may be in poor health, unable to work at at a job and needs financial assistance from the able former spouse. In other cases, it helps to compensate those who gave up educational or career-related goals to stay home and care for children. While raising children is laudable and a worthy undertaking, it can leave that spouse with little to no resources after a divorce. There are several other issues taken into consideration, along with age, health, and the care-giving role, when alimony is considered, such as:

  • The education level of the spouse
  • The work history of the spouse
  • The length of the marriage
  • The earning power of the providing spouse
  • The couple's standard of living prior to the divorce

Three main kinds of alimony

Temporary alimony: Many people believe that temporary alimony is the same thing as rehabilitative alimony, but they are quite different. Temporary alimony is meant to cover the time period between a separation and the actual divorce becoming final. In some cases, divorces can take months and months to be settled, so temporary alimony pays a financial dividend to a spouse that meets the need. This type of benefit is usually addressed through the separation agreement, but it can also be addressed in a stand-alone order from the judge. If all parties agree, the temporary order can be transferred onto the final decree, leaving one less issue to be debated during the divorce process.

Rehabilitative alimony: This type of alimony usually has an expiration date, though it can also be left open-ended. As the name would suggest, it allows a spouse to return to school or to get other career-related training with the goal of becoming self-sufficient at some point. This type of alimony is most often awarded in cases where the receiving spouse is in good health and is able to take advantage of educational opportunities. For example, the receiving spouse may be able to devote time to completing a college degree, now that the children are in school all day. These orders can be amended and altered at any time.

Permanent alimony: This type of alimony is often awarded to older spouses or those with health issues that show few other means of support. Given that, even permanent alimony usually ends when the receiving spouse remarries. 

To learn more about the various types of alimony, contact a divorce attorney.