If the courts have decided that your former spouse should pay you alimony, you are probably “economically disadvantaged” compared to your spouse. This may have happened because your contributions to the marriage were not financial, such as raising the children or managing the household, or because you moved away from a lucrative career when an employer offered your spouse a better opportunity.

Now that the marriage is over, you do not have the ability to step into a career that would provide you with a standard of living that is reasonable compared to what you enjoyed during the marriage. How you spend the payments you receive from your spouse depends on the type of alimony the court awards you.

Rehabilitative alimony

The goal of rehabilitative alimony is to get you back on your feet so you can support yourself to a degree that you can earn a reasonable standard of living on your own. With these alimony payments, you should focus on the training or education that will set you up for a career you will enjoy.

Alimony in futuro

A judge may decide to award you long-term payments that do not have a set ending date under certain circumstances. For example, you may be too close to retirement age to obtain education or training and begin a viable career, or you may have a disability that makes it impossible for you to get a job making enough to overcome your economic disadvantage.

The goal of this type of alimony is to put you as close as possible to the economic position you were in while you were married. It is a good idea to review the budget you and your spouse shared, modify it to account for single life and use your payments to support yourself accordingly.

Transitional alimony

Maybe you have a decent job and can support yourself, but after the divorce, you will not have the financial resources to find a decent place to live. You may need the money to pay attorney fees, debts or other expenses because your normal paycheck will not stretch that far after you pay for your living expenses. Transitional alimony has an end date, so it is vital for you to spend the money wisely so you will be financially stable after the last payment.