When you and your spouse divorce, and you were the primary income earner, you may face several types of alimony. When we talk about alimony in casual conversation, we often discuss it as one, great big monolithic thing. However, “alimony” and “spousal support” are broad terms that describe several different ways that one spouse may give money to the other in a number of different arrangements.
If you anticipate some kind of alimony playing into your divorce, it is wise to familiarize yourself with the various forms you may encounter as you navigate the process.
One concept, many variations
Depending on the specifics of your marriage and the needs of your spouse, a judge may choose to award one or more types of alimony, each with their own purpose.
Permanent alimony is the kind of alimony that most people envision when they casually refer to alimony or spousal support. Under permanent alimony, one spouse pays a set amount of spousal support to the other spouse.
Although judges do award this form of alimony, intending it to extend until the death of one spouse or the other, certain circumstances can justify modifying the order. Such circumstances could include the paying spouse experiencing a significant decrease in income, or the receiving spouse experiencing a significant increase in income that renders the alimony demonstrably unnecessary.
Judges who plan to order permanent alimony will often hand down an order of temporary alimony first, so that the receiving spouse has sufficient means to stay afloat financially until the divorce finalizes. Temporary alimony generally seeks to provide for living needs and court costs so that the receiving spouse can afford basic necessities during the pendency of the divorce.
In other cases, one spouse simply needs help getting back on his or her feet. In these cases, a judge may order rehabilitative alimony to aid this spouse in finding a job or seeking training or education to enter a new field of work or re-enter his or her previous field.
If a judge orders rehabilitative alimony, that judge may also order the receiving spouse to pay reimbursement alimony at some point in the future once her or she secures a job and achieves a sustainable income. Reimbursement alimony essentially compels a spouse who previously received rehabilitative alimony to repay some or all of that support.
Finally, in some cases, one spouse may either receive an order or elect to pay the other spouse lump sum alimony. Under lump sum alimony, one spouse pays the other a specified amount of money, but does not have to make further payments in the future.
In some cases, a spouse who anticipates some other form of alimony may offer to pay a lump sum to either decrease the total of ongoing alimony or to avoid remaining in an alimony scenario.
Whatever your circumstances, you have options
In a divorce negotiation, nothing is set in stone, especially when you have strong legal counsel to guide you. A well-established attorney with experience with the divorce courts in Fowlerville understands how to navigate the nuances of local judges and courts to help you secure a fair resolution to your divorce. In fact, you may have more negotiating power than you realize.
Once you understand the various options available in an alimony scenario, you can negotiate confidently and prepare for your life moving forward.