Skip to Content
Latino woman looking out window sadly, symbolizing dealing with divorce and how it affects your finances.
Divorce and Finances

Spousal support and alimony options

Divorce can bring about personal, emotional and financial changes. Based on circumstances, there are different financial obligations to be met. Be sure you have access to the information you need on spousal support and alimony to make informed decisions.

A divorce may be the end of a marriage, but it doesn't always mean the end of certain financial obligations that one spouse may have to the other. In this article, we'll look at some basic spousal support options that can help you get a better understanding of what may be applicable in your situation.

First of all, you should know that the terms spousal support, alimony, and spousal maintenance essentially mean the same thing - a court order for the more well-off spouse to provide financial assistance to the other, allowing them both to maintain their current standard of living.

Depending on your individual situation, spousal support may be awarded in a variety of ways. While state laws regarding spousal support will vary depending on the state you live in, the following are some basic options. Remember, it's important to always consult with your divorce attorney or other legal counsel before making any decisions.

  • Temporary alimony
    As the name implies, this is option is meant to provide temporary financial support. It's typically awarded during the time when a couple is separated and has not yet finalized their divorce.
  • Rehabilitative alimony
    Much like temporary alimony, rehabilitative support is generally provided for a limited time only. It's meant to offer financial assistance to a spouse who may require specific job training and/or education so that he or she can become financially independent.
  • Lump-sum support
    This is a one-time, fixed payment that is generally equal to the total of future monthly payments (whatever the court has decided). Unlike temporary or rehabilitative support, a lump-sum payment may be awarded regardless of any financial need, and is often used as a type of settlement agreement.
  • Permanent alimony
    This type of support is meant to continue until the recipient remarries, or if either the pay or payee dies. Depending on the laws in your state, payment amounts may be subject to change.
  • Reimbursement alimony
    In some cases, one spouse feels entitled to reimbursement for expenses incurred during the marriage for things such as higher education. Reimbursement alimony is considered a type of payback for the spouse who had supported the other during this time.

It's important to understand the types of spousal support available after a divorce and to evaluate your situation and which may be the best fit for your personal and financial situation.

For more information on divorce and finances, visit the Protective Learning Center.

Note: The information in this article is not intended as tax or legal advice. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation.



Arrows linking indicating relationship

Related Articles

 Man in his thirties looking sad, staring out a window.

Financial mistakes to avoid when getting divorced

Learn more
Single woman on a vacation.

Life insurance considerations for the newly divorced

Learn more
Mother and daughter laughing; mother is worried if she can get life insurance on her ex

Can I get life insurance on my ex-husband or wife?

Learn more

All Learning Center articles are general summaries that can be used when considering your financial future at various life stages. The information presented is for educational purposes and is meant to supplement other information specific to your situation. It is not intended as investment advice and does not necessarily represent the opinion of Protective Life or its subsidiaries.

Learning Center articles may describe services and financial products not offered by Protective Life or its subsidiaries. Descriptions of financial products contained in Learning Center articles are not intended to represent those offered by Protective Life or its subsidiaries.

Neither Protective Life nor its representatives offer legal or tax advice. We encourage you to consult with your financial adviser and legal or tax adviser regarding your individual situations before making investment, social security, retirement planning, and tax-related decisions. For information about Protective Life and its products and services, visit

Companies and organizations linked from Learning Center articles have no affiliation with Protective Life or its subsidiaries.