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Understanding the Different Types of Spousal Maintenance

Spousal maintenance, also frequently referred to as alimony, falls into several main categories of short- and long-term support. The following is a quick overview of the different types of alimony arrangements that may be ordered as part of a divorce:

  • Temporary spousal maintenance: Temporary spousal maintenance is generally only provided while the divorce is pending. The supported spouse may require the money immediately after separation, especially if he or she has no job or a very low earning capacity. It’s important to get this taken care of as soon as possible so that the lesser-earning spouse can be supported during the divorce process.
  • Short-term or rehabilitative spousal maintenance: Judges order short-term spousal maintenance if the marriage was relatively short. Rehabilitative spousal maintenance is another type of short-term spousal maintenance, specifically designed as a temporary means of support while a spouse gets the training and education necessary to improve his or her job prospects and earning capacity. Once this dependent spouse gets back to work, the rehabilitative spousal maintenance period ends. These two types of spousal maintenance are often also referred to as temporary spousal maintenance.
  • Long-term/permanent spousal maintenance: Long-term spousal maintenance is typically granted to a dependent spouse after a long marriage (10 years or more) and if the judge determines that spouse either will not or cannot go back to the workforce, resulting in a need for indefinite support. While it’s often referred to as “permanent” spousal maintenance, this support may end if the recipient or payer dies, or if the recipient remarries or begins long-term cohabitation with another partner. Permanent spousal maintenance is also modifiable as each person’s financial situations change.

For further information on the different types of alimony available in a divorce, speak with a skilled Minnesota family law attorney at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A.

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