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Four Types of Alimony

There are four types of alimony: Transitional, Rehabilitative, In Futuro, and In Solido.

Transitional Alimony

Transitional alimony is just what it sounds like. The Court orders the richer spouse to pay the poorer spouse a sum of money, anywhere from 1 time to several years, to help them “transition” from being a married person to being a single person.

The money is to be used to pay off debt, or to pay a deposit on a new apartment, or to buy a car, or to start a business – anything that is to help the economically disadvantaged spouse get on his or her own feet. Transitional alimony typically ends if the receiving spouse starts getting enough money on their own, or if the receiving spouse moves in with a new romantic interest. Otherwise, it is often difficult to modify transitional alimony, even if your own economic circumstances take a nose dive.

Rehabilitative Alimony

Rehabilitative alimony is meant to help the poorer spouse get a college degree, or seed a new business – something, again, to help him or her get on their feet and be able to make enough money to support themselves.

Generally, to get rehabilitative alimony, you have to show a real, detailed plan and some evidence that you intend to follow through – things like a letter showing you have been admitted as a student at the University of Tennessee or Pellissippi State, or a business loan commitment from your bank. Rehabilitative alimony awards will often be more generous than transitional alimony awards, and for example, may completely cover the cost of that education.

Alimony In Futuro

Alimony In Futuro is what people usually think of when they think of alimony – a monthly payment that goes on indefinitely into the future, until the receiving spouse remarries or either one of the spouses dies. By law, alimony in futuro (or permanent alimony) is disfavored and hard to get. Judges believe that people should stand on their own two feet if possible. We see it awarded to elderly spouses and to spouses with disabilities, and, sometimes, to spouses as a result of some elite tax planning involving very rich people, but rarely otherwise.

Alimony In Solido

This type of alimony, typically awarded when there are large property settlements, is the transfer of an asset that produces income sufficient to supplement what the economically disadvantaged spouse can earn on their own. For instance, in a divorce involving a school teacher and a doctor, the school teacher might get an investment account that generates $12,000/year in dividends to supplement their smaller expected salary.

Alimony in solido can be a cash payment, delivered monthly, but the key difference between it and other types of alimony is that it has to be a specific sum of money, and it cannot be modified no matter what. This means, if you lose your job, or get sick, you still owe that payment. If your spouse remarries or wins the lottery, you still owe the money. Even if your spouse dies, his/her estate has a claim for the unpaid balance of the alimony in solido award.

Attorney Margaret Held is well known throughout Knoxville for her expertise as a family law attorney and divorce lawyer. To schedule a consultation, please call 865-685-4780.