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The Divorce Encyclopedia
Rehabilitative Alimony


Term Definition Rehabilitative Alimony - short-term spousal support after a divorce.
Application in Divorce In general, alimony is either permanent, or long-term, or rehabilitative, or short-term.

Rehabilitative alimony is normally given in recognition of the fact one spouse, usually the women whose contributions to the marriage are hard to measure in dollars and cents, may need a bridge to get her back into the work force. For example, a woman who has been a homemaker many years may need help freshening skills that make her employable. Rehabilitative alimony is intended to help the recipient to become self-supporting. The duration of rehabilitative alimony varies from case to case.

By comparison, courts award permanent alimony to a person who because of health or age may be beyond rehabilitation and employment and simply incapable of self-support.

Alimony, both permanent or rehabilitative, can be very important to a nonworking spouse. In general, despite the emancipation of women, the career of a husband generally comes first, even in two-career, working- couple marriages. This arrangement, very common despite gains women have made in the work force, puts the wife at a real disadvantage when a marriage fails.

Courts award rehabilitative alimony because fundamental fairness is a consideration in divorce. Beginning in the 1970s, courts began to award alimony to a nonworking spouse whose contributions to the marriage did not lend themselves easy calculation. This happened at the same time most jurisdictions liberalized divorce laws.

See Alimony.

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