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What Are The Different Types Of Alimony?

The Harris Law Firm

One of the most commonly discussed aspects of divorce is alimony, called "maintenance" in Colorado. It’s not surprising, seeing as it’s potentially the part of the divorce negotiations that involves the most amount of money changing hands. What you may not know is that there are multiple types of alimony that can we awarded during divorce proceedings.

1.Permanent Alimony: Permanent alimony or spousal support continues until the ex-spouse paying dies, the ex-spouse receiving payment dies, or the ex-spouse receiving payment remarries. However, there are cases where the alimony payments can continue even after the ex-spouse receiving payment remarries.

2.Temporary Alimony: Temporary alimony or spousal support, also referred to as pendente lite alimony or spousal support, lasts through the separation but ends once the divorce proceedings are finalized. This type of alimony or spousal support is usually awarded through a temporary court order, and is intended to help the ex-spouse receiving payment maintain their lifestyle during the divorce proceedings.

3.Rehabilitative Alimony: Rehabilitative alimony or spousal support is awarded for a fixed period of time, and is intended to allow the ex-spouse receiving payment pursue education, job training, or job experience in order to become self-sufficient. It can also be awarded to the custodial parent of young children to allow the parent to stay home and care for their children until they reach school age. The time limit is either set through both parties coming to an agreement or through a court mandated timeline. Most final divorce decrees include the need for a review of the rehabilitative spousal support or alimony to allow the court to look at the facts of the case and determine if the payments should be continued, ended, or if the amount paid should change.

4.Reimbursement Alimony: Reimbursement alimony or spousal support is awarded in order for an ex-spouse to reimburse the other ex-spouse for certain expenses. These payments generally include repayment for financial assistance an ex-spouse provided in order for the other party to complete schooling or job training and build their career.

Lump Sum Alimony

In some cases, one or both of the ex-spouses want to avoid making monthly payments. With approval, usually from both parties as well as the court, the ex-spouse required to make the payments can replace the recurring payments with a single lump sum payment. Their reasons could include not wanting to risk missing a payment, which could come with consequences, or they could simply want to move on with their lives and not want to have the constant reminder of their terminated marriage coming up every month.

Benefits of taking a lump sum payment include the increased ability to immediately invest the money, potentially increasing its value over the long term, as well as not needing to worry about whether or not your ex-spouse will make every monthly payment. This can remove the potential need to return to court at a later date in order to obtain a court judgement to order their ex-spouse to continue making their payments in a timely fashion. A possible downside to accepting a lump sum payment are the potential tax consequences. If you are considering taking a lump sum payment, it’s best to consult with your attorney to figure out the most effective way to receive your payment or payments.

Payment Enforcement

In cases where the ex-spouse ordered to make alimony or spousal support payments consistently fails to do so, they will be held in contempt of court. This allows the court to take steps in order to compel them to complete their payments, whether they choose to pursue a criminal or civil proceeding. Some steps a court may take in order to compel the ex-spouse required to make payments include:

  • Seizure of property in place of payment, such as tax returns
  • Wage garnishments
  • Liens on property
  • Imprisonment for a set period of time
  • Imprisonment until payments are completed

If you are heading into divorce proceedings and are seeking expert assistance, contact our Denver divorce lawyers at The Harris Law Firm. Our entire practice is devoted to family law, giving us the time and focus to stay up-to-date on all matters. Call us today at (303) 622-5502 to set up a legal evaluation, or fill out our online form to ask a legal question.

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