What is “Rehabilitative Alimony?”

There are several different kinds of alimony. The first is “periodic alimony” which is payable on a monthly basis until the remarriage or death of the payee. This alimony can be changed if there is a substantial change in circumstances and is deductible to the payor. The second is “lump sum” alimony. This is a fixed amount payable whether or not the receiver remarries or dies. This alimony is not subject to change and is not deductible. The Court has fashioned a third type of alimony know as “rehabilitative alimony.” This alimony combines some of the characteristics of the first two types, since it is payable for a fixed term but is subject to modification. Court decisions recognize other types of alimony and encourages Courts and parties to combine the types to fit the specific needs of the situation. The recent decision of The Court of Appeals in Brady v. Brady No.–CA–00254–COA (August 4, 2009) is instructive. There, the Chancellor awarded $1500 in rehabilitative alimony to a woman who had been married and living with her husband only 6 months. The husband was guilty of adultery. He earned almost $84,000 per year and she earned $24,000 per year. The husband complained that the wife was earning the same in divorce as she was prior to divorce so she should not get alimony. No doubt, he also argued the marriage was too short to support an alimony claim. The Court found the award was appropriate and exactly what rehabilitative alimony was intended for. Since the wife’s home had been destroyed in Katrina, she now had a home payment which she did not have before Katrina. The Court also observed that the disparity in the incomes justified the award, so that the wife might “rehabilitate herself in order to maintain the standard of living she has become accustomed to or somewhere near it.”