Rehabilitative alimony is short-term alimony paid to a spouse until he or she is self-supporting. The spouse can use the payments to acquire new job skills and cover expenses until he or she finds employment. The amount and duration of rehabilitative alimony varies according to the particular circumstances of the marriage and by state.
Facts about rehabilitative alimony
Often during a marriage, one spouse has to leave the workforce or pass up career opportunities in order to raise children, manage a household or assume other family responsibilities. If a marriage dissolves, the spouse may be at a disadvantage when reentering the job market. Rehabilitative alimony gives the spouse a chance to become more marketable and regain the opportunities he or she lost. It can pay for education, job training, or whatever it takes to make the spouse more employable.
The court awards rehabilitative alimony for a fixed amount of time, typically one to five years. The divorce settlement usually lists its specific duration. When rehabilitative alimony is due to end, the court may set a date to review the spouse's current situation to see if an extension is required. Either spouse may request to modify rehabilitative alimony if there is a substantial change of circumstances.
Rehabilitative alimony is not intended to equalize the financial situation between spouses. It is a way to help the dependent spouse become self-supporting in order to maintain a reasonable standard of living.
How rehabilitative alimony is determined
Courts look at many factors when considering rehabilitative alimony awards. Some of these are:
- Length of the marriage
- Age of dependent spouse
- Earning capabilities of dependent spouse
- Length of dependent spouse's absence from job market
- Time and expense necessary to educate and train dependent spouse
If age, illness, disability or other factors prohibit the dependent spouse from finding suitable employment, the court may award permanent alimony.
If you seek rehabilitative alimony
Rehabilitative alimony should be part of your divorce settlement. You may have to outline what you'll do to gain financial independence in order for the court to consider an award. This may include the steps you need to take, the payments necessary to complete those steps and the length of time you need to be self-supporting.