Temporary and Rehabilitative Alimony

Temporary alimony (technically referred to as alimony pendente lite, meaning “pending suit”) is alimony given when the parties are separated, but the divorce is not finalized.  While the alimony may be continued under a different name after the divorce is completed, it need not be.

Rehabilitative alimony, as the name implies, refers to alimony that is given to a spouse so that s/he can "rehabilitate" herself or himself; that is, so s/he can acquire a greater earning potential or training in order to become self-supporting. It may also be given to a parent who is staying home with young children until it is appropriate and possible for the parent to work outside the home.  While there is no established time when parents automatically are expected to work outside the home, when the youngest child is in school full-time, it is common for the parent to resume work, though of course different families will deal with this differently

Rehabilitative alimony is usually set for a pre-established period of time. The court, or the parties in agreement, may include a stipulation that the alimony be reviewed at the end of that period. This means that the court may look at the facts of the case to determine whether alimony should be continued, discontinued, or changed in amount.

In the event that the order or agreement regarding alimony does not contain the stipulation for review, it may or may not still be reviewable, depending on the law of the state. That said, if the recipient of alimony wants the alimony to be reviewable, this should be included in the agreement. Conversely, if the payor does not want alimony to be continued beyond a certain time, he or she should seek to have this included in the agreement. Most courts will approve the cessation of alimony on a specified date if that is what the agreement or order calls for, though the court usually has the power to continue alimony in certain circumstances, such as chronic illness of the recipient.