When you get divorced, you may find yourself in a situation where you need to provide spousal support to your ex. Or maybe you’re on the other side, where you are receiving spousal support. Either way, you should know the different spousal support options available to you.

How is Alimony Calculated? 

Alimony is financial assistance determined by the court. The support is a way to formally recognize the recipient’s contribution to the marriage and helps them get back on their feet financially. 

Every state is different, but there are a few main factors that play into alimony:

You can see there’s no one-size-fits-all aspect of alimony. For example, the divorce of a couple who was married for 30 years and had one working spouse that earns $300,000 per year will be very different from one who was married for six months, and both people earn $40,000 per year. 

Note – if there is a prenuptial agreement, things are a bit different! The world of alimony may not apply in your case. 

All of that said, there are several specific types of alimony. 

Rehabilitative Alimony

The first of the spousal support options is rehabilitative alimony. Just like it sounds, this type of alimony is in place to help the recipient with something. In this case, it’s to help them get new job skills or education. This will help them land higher-paying jobs and be self-sufficient. 

This type of alimony is usually awarded to a spouse who was a stay-at-home parent that was taking care of young children. 

This type of alimony tends to come with specific rules, such as a predetermined duration. In addition, the agreement will contain some kind of review provision. 

Lump-Sum Alimony

Yes, the second of the spousal support options entails one large payment given to the recipient instead of regular, recurring payments for a specific period of time. In this case, the amount given is equal to what would’ve been given to the recipient over time. 

For example, let’s say the judge decided that the alimony would be $2,000 per month for five years. If you multiply that out, it comes out to $2,000 x 12 months x 5 years = $120,000. If the person paying alimony has the funds, they may be able to pay lump-sum alimony and just get it all done at once. 

Permanent Alimony

When a recipient is awarded permanent alimony, it means they will continue to receive alimony until one of three things happens:

  1. The recipient remarries
  2. The payor dies
  3. The recipient passes away

Depending on your state, the court may end or suspend support if the recipient begins living in the same home as a new partner. Therefore, knowing what can happen in your state is essential, which is why we always recommend Californians work with a California divorce attorney

Temporary Alimony

This type of spousal support can occur when a divorce isn’t final, but the couple has separated. For example, let’s say they’ve already written a marital separation agreement, which outlines how much the alimony will be and who pays who. 

Reimbursement Alimony

Let’s say you have a marriage where the husband goes to school while the woman works full time. She is working hard to support them while he gets his degree.

…but shortly after he graduates, they end up getting divorced. 

In a case like this, reimbursement alimony may come into play. It’s where the spouse who incurred expenses while the other was working must reimburse the partner that supported them. 


Because every divorce is a bit different, we always recommend working with an experienced attorney who knows what they’re doing. Send us an email or call us at 714.456.9118. We look forward to hearing from you and helping you through this process. 

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