When you file for divorce, you may face financial obligations for your spouse beyond separating your marital assets. Depending on the state in which you live, the length of your marriage and your two incomes, you may have to pay your former spouse alimony for a number of years until they are able to get on their feet financially. Calculating alimony is done by following a formula, and if you are ordered to pay alimony, you must pay the allotted amount each month just as you would pay child support.

Temporary Alimony May be Allotted for the Duration of the Divorce Proceedings

Sometimes it can take a divorce a year or more to be completed. If one spouse makes significantly less than the other, the spouse with more income may have to pay temporary alimony until the divorce is completed. This is to ensure that the less fortunate party of the marriage can survive financially until the final divorce decree is established. Temporary alimony is spousal support for the period of limbo between filing the divorce and receiving the final resolution to the divorce.

Rehabilitative Alimony Provides Support During a Time of Retraining

In any marriage that includes children, one party may forgo some career choices to take primary care of the children. If one parent stayed home raising the children, or began working part time to stay home more often with the kids, they may be entitled to rehabilitative alimony. This type of alimony gives credit to the stay at home parent, providing them with money so that they can go to school and not have to focus solely on earning money to live on. Rehabilitative alimony is meant to provide support to the former spouse so that they can learn a new career in order to live successfully on their own.

Permanent Alimony Looks at a Number of Factors

While permanent alimony sounds like it would last forever, there are limits to permanent alimony. The judge on the case will look at the length of the marriage and the standard of living the two parties enjoyed during the marriage, and will award alimony in one of the following ways:

  • monthly payments to the receiving party for a length of time determined by the judge.
  • a lump sum payment at the time of the divorce.
  • trust payments for a period of time established by the court.
  • in-kind payments, which means paying the former spouse for services rendered.

If you believe you are entitled to alimony payments, it's time to sit down with a qualified divorce attorney to discuss your options.