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The Various Forms of Alimony

Following a divorce (and sometimes preceding one), alimony may be awarded to a spouse, depending on the circumstances. Alimony is designed so the recipient can maintain a lifestyle reasonably comparable to the lifestyle reasonably comparable to the lifestyle they were accustomed to while married. Alimony comes in a number of forms:

Permanent alimony can only be terminated upon the death of either spouse, or if the supported spouse remarries. The amount of alimony paid can be adjusted based on a significant change of circumstances - for example, the financial  situation of one or the other spouse has changed or supported spouse cohabits with another man/woman for a specified period of time. Permanent alimony is generally geared to those who had long-term marriages (10 or more years). If the marriage was too brief for permanent alimony, the court might award limited duration alimony, which is similar in principle to permanent alimony but has a fixed start and end date determined in advance by the court.

Rehabilitative alimony is awarded for a set period of years to be determined by the two parties or the court. Its intent is to enable a spouse to undertake job training or earn a degree to become more self-sufficient. This type of alimony is frequently awarded when the marriage was of short duration.

Reimbursement alimony "reimburses" a spouse who supported the other spouse in a way that enabled them to invest the time to attain a degree or develop a business. The support during the marriage need not have been financial. It can include maintaining the household, taking care of the kids, and providing emotional support.

Temporary alimony provides spousal support and serves as a bridge between official separation and the final divorce decree.


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