This post is the second of a two part series on spousal support. If you haven’t already read part 1, I recommend you do so before continuing.
Differences between spousal support and child support (cont.)
Another important difference between spousal support and child support is that spousal support lacks the enforcement power that child support has. A non-compliant former spouse cannot have their wages garnished due to missed alimony payments, nor can liens be placed against any property they might own. However, alimony is governed by court order, which offers a different set of enforcement mechanisms, although they are not as powerful.
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Types of Spousal Support
There are four types of spousal support:
- Transitional (Temporary) – alimony paid when the couple is separated but not yet divorced. This type of alimony is designed to give the receiving spouse the immediate support they need to live during the divorce. This type of alimony is generally specified in a written separation agreement.
- Rehabilitative – this is alimony granted for a specified amount of time. It gets its name from the idea that it be granted to a lower earning spouse for the time it takes them to acquire job skills or professional certifications and enter the workforce. Rehabilitative alimony can also be reviewed, and potentially renewed, at the end of its predetermined period.
- Lump-sum (non-modifiable) – As the name implies, this type of spousal support consists of a single, up front payment. Sometimes this type of alimony is used to compensate one spouse for their share of a property the former couple doesn’t want to sell.
- Open ended (lifetime alimony) – This is alimony with no specific end date. This type of alimony is rare, but is sometimes granted in cases of long marriages where one former spouse was the primary earner and the other former spouse has little job skills or ability to work.
Get an experienced attorney on your side
Since spousal support is a discretionary award over which judges exercise considerable subjectivity, the only way to ensure your interests are well represented is by hiring an experienced family law attorney. PJ Hartman has over 15 years of experience practicing family law in New Mexico, and she takes pride in making sure her clients’ rights and interests are protected.