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Spousal Support

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What is spousal support?

A monthly payment of money made from one spouse to the other. Some people call this alimony, but in Alaska it is called spousal support. The court may order spousal support to be paid before the divorce is final, after the divorce, or both. But usually, the court orders spousal support for a specific purpose and a limited amount of time.

Under what circumstances could I get spousal support?

The court will decide if you need it and whether it is fair. The court looks at many factors for both you and your ex that include:

What kinds of spousal support are there?

There are two kinds: "rehabilitation support" or "reorientation support."

Rehabilitation Support
Rehabilitation support is the money that pays for job training or school. The idea is that you will use the money to get skills to work or move up in your job. If you do not use the money for school, the court can take it away. You usually need to tell the court what your work goal is, how the school or training program meets that goal, and how long it will take to finish the program. You can get rehabilitation support for the reasonable time it takes to finish a degree program. This is usually for up to four years.

Reorientation Support
Reorientation support is the money that helps you get used to living on less money than when you were married. This money is paid for a short period, usually a year or less, and usually when the division of marital property does not meet one party's needs. For example, reorientation support may give a party temporary money while he waits to sell the house.

Do spousal support awards last forever?

Generally not. In most cases support is for a specific amount of time. Rehabilitation support usually lasts for the time it will take complete school or job training. Reorientation support usually lasts for one year at most.

Can a court order both types of support?

Yes, but it depends on the facts in each case.

How do I get spousal support?

You need to ask for it in your complaint. You can make this request in the "other" section of the FLSHC divorce complaint.

However, if you want to ask the court for some support before your divorce is final, you must ALSO file a motion asking for "Interim Spousal Support."

Rehabilitation Support
For rehabilitation support, you must state your work goal, what school you plan to go to, and how long you expect to be in school. The court might want to know how much the program will cost and see your class schedule to show you are signed up. This type of support usually lasts for the time it takes to finish school or up to four years. If you do not use the money to go to school, your ex can go back to court and ask to stop paying you.

Reorientation Support
If you want reorientation support, you need to show why the property division will not meet your needs. Things to think about are:

This type of support usually lasts for a year at the most. The court doesn't usually give reorientation support but may when the property division doesn't meet a party's needs.

If you have questions about how motions work, please see our motion page for more information.


Rev. 6 January 2014
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