Five might seem like too many kinds of alimony. Some spouses in the early stages of the divorce process figure they will probably have to pay all five kinds at once.
But nobody needs to worry about that. In fact, take a deep breath and you may find the five types make some sense after all.
Pendente lite while waiting for court decisions
When one spouse depends on the other financially, the court may order alimony pendente lite, a Latin phrase roughly meaning “while waiting for the litigation.” The later court order may replace it with another kind of alimony.
Limited duration to get on their feet
For a spouse likely to be able to become financially self-reliant, the court may order limited-duration alimony. Often awarded to people young and healthy enough to start fresh on a new life after divorce, limited-duration alimony usually carries benchmarks for moving on.
Rehabilitative alimony for the road to a new life
When a spouse will need time for job training, education or experience before they can support themselves the court may order rehabilitative alimony. While considered short-term, its goal is to leave the person able to live independently at a reasonable level of income.
Reimbursement for buying a spouse’s ladder up
When one spouse supported the other while they went to school, or even paid for their education, the newly minted nurse, doctor or attorney may have to repay the favor by court order. If you learn to pilot airliners and then run off with a flight attendant, you may have to pay your benefactor back for flight school and other support.
Open-durational alimony lasts only as long as it must
When a spouse has a valid reason for not being able to support themselves, the court may order open durational alimony. The payments continue until both spouses agree they can end, or until the court orders them to end. The court can also modify the arrangement if there is a substantial change in circumstances, such as (ordinarily) the paying spouse reaching Social Security’s retirement age.