Divorce can impact every area of one’s life, including finances. Many divorced individuals are entitled to monetary payments from their ex-spouses called alimony or spousal support, following the end of the marriage.
While all types of alimony are meant to help an individual maintain the standard of living they were accustomed to during the marriage, not all spousal support is the same. Understanding the different types of spousal support that may be available is an important part of navigating the divorce process.
Many divorcing individuals first receive spousal support in the form of temporary alimony. During the initial separation period, a lower-earning spouse may face an immediate need for spousal support. If an individual would qualify for spousal support, the right to alimony would begin as soon as a separation occurs.
Temporary alimony or alimony “pendente lite” is a monetary award that lasts only during the divorce proceedings. When the judgment of divorce is entered, this type of alimony will no longer be effective. If spouses agree on temporary support amount during this time, it should be put forth in a signed agreement for tax purposes and to ensure that the paying spouse does not change their mind.
Most courts expect both spouses eventually to become financially self-sufficient, within a reasonable time after the judgment of divorce is entered. As such, judges often award short-term alimony for a limited period of time. Short-term alimony is meant to give individuals an opportunity to adjust financially after a divorce.
Rehabilitative support is short-term alimony meant to bridge the gap until the financially dependent spouse can reenter the workforce. Individuals who are completing retraining programs or obtaining education to return to work would receive rehabilitative support while they completed the process.
If an ex-spouse believes that the recipient is not diligently pursuing the necessary training or education, they may petition the court to terminate or reduce the payment amounts. If alimony is paid by agreement, typically parties agree that they will not seek to modify the amount of alimony.
When one spouse had demonstrated that they will be unable to become financially self-sufficient following a divorce, due to their age, disability, or health issues, a court may award permanent or long-term alimony. This type of alimony may also be awarded in cases where the divorce results in the living standards of the spouses to be “unconscionably disparate.” When the recipient of permanent support dies or remarries, the alimony payments will end.
There are many factors a court looks at when determining whether to award alimony. Alimony can sometimes compensate a spouse who can demonstrate that they sacrificed their own education, career advancement, or vocational training during the marriage, in order to provide an opportunity for their spouse to train or study for their more lucrative professional career.
If both spouses had the expectation that once the professional spouse was earning the higher salary that the sacrificing spouse would benefit from the higher standard of living, alimony may be appropriate.
Lump Sum Alimony
In rare cases, one spouse may receive a lump sum payment, instead of an award of property or other valuables accumulated during the marriage. Short-term or long-term alimony will not be awarded in addition to this type of alimony. This is usually done by agreement, and not ordered by the court.
Baltimore County Alimony Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Can Explain Alimony Options
If you have additional questions about alimony or spousal support, the experienced Baltimore County alimony lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC are here to help. Our dedicated divorce lawyers assist individuals in all aspects of their divorce proceedings including property distribution, child custody and spousal support issues. Call us today at 443-589-0150 or contact us online. Our offices are in Hunt Valley and Towson, Maryland to conveniently serve clients throughout the state.