If you are considering a divorce, you may be ordered by a judge to pay alimony to your spouse. Although the laws regarding alimony vary by state, when alimony payments are made, it is usually the spouse making the greater income that is required to pay money to the spouse making the smaller income. However, there are different variations of alimony that you may be required to pay. The following are the most common.
This is the type of payment people often think of when they hear the word alimony. This type of alimony can last until the death of the paying ex-spouse. It can also continue to be paid when the ex-spouse receiving the alimony is remarried. This type of alimony payment, in modern divorce cases, may not be permanent, although the duration can be many years. However, the amount can be adjusted up or down depending upon the income changes that each ex-spouse experiences over time.
This occurs when a couple separates prior to a divorce. It is court-ordered by a judge, and serves the purpose of protecting the spouse with the smaller income. This enables the individual to maintain the same lifestyle he or she has had during the marriage. Once a divorce agreement has been drawn up and finalized, this type of alimony comes to an end. It may or may not be replaced with a permanent alimony.
This is a form of temporary alimony that is paid to an individual for the purpose of transitioning to a new life. Often it is paid so that an ex-spouse can afford to learn new job skills or attend college. This type of alimony will last for a period of time defined by a judge. In some cases, it may last until a couple's children are grown up.
This type of alimony is for the purpose of reimbursing a spouse that made a financial sacrifice for the other. A common example is when one spouse worked to help put the other through school. After graduating from school, the individual went on to obtain a professional job with a good income such as a doctor or attorney. The now high income producing spouse may be required to reimburse the other for the time spent helping with the education. This type of alimony is different than the others because it is usually paid in a lump sum, but it can take the form of payments over a specific period of time.
As you can tell, there are different ways a person can pay alimony to their ex-spouse. Whether you are required to pay alimony or not will depend upon many factors, so it is imperative to consult with a divorce attorney.