The rise of rehabilitative alimony

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in divorce on Friday, December 28, 2018.

Alimony has long been viewed by many in Jackson County as almost being a punitive obligation placed on a person for being more financially successful than their ex-spouse. It is also almost universally assumed that the one obliged to pay alimony will be the husband (due to the fact that, until recently, societal norms have been that the husband serves as the provider for the family). This assumption is supported by the fact that, according to Forbes Magazine, of the 400,000 people recorded has receiving alimony in the U.S. in 2014, only 3 percent were men.

The American Bar Association states that many of the fundamental concepts behind individual states’ alimony laws are based on the idea developed by the American Law Institute that the end of a marriage brings with it inherent losses, and that those losses should be shared (to the extent that it is possible) by both spouses. However, those losses are also often viewed as being temporary, which is why recent years have seen states move away from awarding permanent alimony and instead emphasizing support meant to be rehabilitative.

Rehabilitative alimony is that which is awarded only while the spouse left financially disadvantaged by a divorce works to complete the education or training needed to secure gainful employment (and then for however long it takes for them to find a job). Oftentimes, the time period in which one is given to rehabilitate their earning potential is defined. For example, an alimony obligee may be told that such assistance will only be available for three years, after which the obligor’s legal obligation will end. They then know that they have that time to find a job (or other source of support) that will allow them to enjoy the same standard of living they did while married.

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