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What Are the Different Types of Spousal Support?

Once almost exclusively called alimony, the process of requesting money from your spouse after a divorce has gone by many names over the years. From alimony to spousal maintenance to spousal support, these terms can be dizzying – and confusing, especially for non-lawyers.

Although these terms mostly mean the same thing, there are some slight differences in the types of spousal support a judge can order in your case. Today, our Granite Bay spousal support attorneys will review four of the most common types of spousal support, and discuss when each option may be appropriate.

The 4 Main Types of Alimony and Spousal Support

Type #1: Permanent Spousal Support

Also called permanent alimony, this option may be awarded at the end of divorce proceedings to cover a spouse’s ongoing needs after the marriage ends. Permanent spousal support is paid on a recurring basis, until either the payee or payor dies. However, this isn’t always the case: In some states, a remarriage or even cohabitation may be grounds to terminate or suspend permanent spousal support, although it depends greatly on the case and local laws.

Ultimately, if your divorce will cause you to have a serious need, a lifestyle deficiency, or an economic disadvantage – and your spouse can afford to cover these needs while still supporting themselves and any children between you – you may be entitled to receive permanent spousal support. If economic circumstances change, the payments may also be adjusted to reflect those circumstances.

Type #2: Temporary Spousal Support

This is also called “alimony pendente lite.” As the name implies, temporary spousal support or alimony has a time limit, and does not extend either indefinitely or until remarriage. This is typically awarded during a separation, or before the divorce has been fully finalized, and it’s usually included as part of a written marital separation agreement. Like permanent alimony, it too can be adjusted later depending on the economic circumstances of the payor or payee.

Type #3: Rehabilitative Spousal Support

One of the most common reasons spouses request alimony is a lack of sufficient education or job training to support themselves once the marriage dissolves. This is usually because one spouse was a stay-at-home parent or homemaker, and had no external source of income during the marriage. Rehabilitative spousal support can temporarily provide for spouses in these situations, although it is subject to a review at the end of the pay period. It also covers a spouse who can’t easily return to the work force because of a temporary disability or injury, or who has small children still at home.

Because women are still far more likely to be homemakers than men, rehabilitative spousal support is usually awarded to female spouses. However, it’s important to note that either sex can request spousal support, and that men who are stay-at-home dads, or who sustain a debilitating injury, can also ask for rehabilitative spousal support.

Type #4: Reimbursement Spousal Support

Another common type of spousal support is reimbursement, or covering expenses one spouse incurred to help the other during their marriage. This type is most commonly requested when one spouse financially supported the other through school, or during a period of unemployment. In these cases, it doesn’t matter whether the recipient needs the money or not, as this is purely a reimbursement for past economic losses. It can be paid as a lump sum, or as a recurring payment.

Do you need assistance with determining spousal support in Granite Bay? Contact Myers Family Law today for a low-cost, 30-minute consultation! We also represent clients in Placer County and Sacramento.