Types of Alimony
There are various types of alimony. Some states do not recognize all types of alimony. Some are more likely to award particular types of alimony than others.
Lump-sum alimony is the payment of support in a certain amount. It may include money and/or property. The total amount of alimony to be paid is fixed. It may be paid once or in set payments. When this type of support is provided, there is not usually any other requirement to pay another type of alimony to the dependent spouse.
Permanent alimony means that alimony payments will continue indefinitely. It may not actually be permanent, though. Alimony often ends at certain events, such as when the paying spouse retires or the dependent spouse remarries or cohabitates with a romantic partner, depending on state law. Also, the paying spouse may be able to petition the court for a modification of support if circumstances change.
Several states have eliminated permanent alimony altogether, while others drastically limit it for only certain situations, such as if a spouse is handicapped and unable to work or if a spouse spent many years out of the workforce to care for the couple’s children. Permanent alimony is more likely to be ordered in cases involving long-term marriages.
Some states are more likely to grant this type of alimony than other states. New Jersey, New Hampshire, Michigan, Oregon, Virginia and Washington are some states that award permanent alimony more than other states.
Alimony for a set period of time
In some alimony cases, the court may order that alimony payments continue for a set period of time. The court may order that support payments continue for a certain amount of time based on the length of your marriage.
For example, when California courts order spousal support in cases involving marriages that lasted less than ten years, it is usually for half of the marriage. So, if the couple was married for eight years, the divorce order may state that spousal support payments would continue until four years into the future.
Separation alimony, or alimony pendente lite, is support that is paid while spouses are legally separated or while their divorce is pending. It is usually ordered by the divorce court only for the duration of the case.
This type of support is intended to provide financial support during the divorce process so that the spouses can maintain their standard of living during this limited duration.
This type of alimony can be ordered even if ultimately the family court decides not to grant permanent alimony or any other type of alimony. If the couple decides to reconcile, this alimony can be stopped. If the couple divorces, another type of alimony may be awarded.
Many states are moving toward a preference for rehabilitative alimony in which one spouse provides financial support to the other spouse for a limited duration of time that allows the dependent spouse to become self-sufficient.
The term of alimony allows the dependent spouse time to acquire additional education, job training, work experience or other skills or attributes to have desirable employment skills and to become employed in a position that provides adequate income for self-sufficiency.
There may not be a specific date that is established when ordering this type of spousal support, but the term may be based on meeting certain goals. However, the support order may indicate that there will be follow-up court hearings to check on the progress of the goals of self-sufficiency.
If the court determines that the dependent spouse is not making reasonable efforts to become self-supporting, it may limit the time period for when spousal support will continue or may dismiss the alimony case. The court can also extend the timeline if it considers this action appropriate.
This type of alimony reimburses a spouse who helped pay for the education or acquisition of appropriate job skills to allow the other spouse to increase their earning potential.