Q. Explain the difference between permanent alimony and rehabilitative alimony.
A. The courts have determined that rehabilitative alimony is appropriate in situations in which it is possible for a person to develop or redevelop a capacity for self-support. Such alimony should be limited in amount and duration to what is necessary to maintain that person through his/her training or education, or until he/she obtains employment or otherwise becomes self-supporting. The considerations for rehabilitative alimony include age, education, duration of marriage and standard of living enjoyed during the marriage.
In cases in which a spouse is a senior citizen and has never been employed, the court will usually award permanent alimony instead of rehabilitative alimony. In cases in which a spouse has been accustomed to a high standard of living and has never been employed but has certain job skills, thereby enabling him/her to reestablish himself/herself, then a mixture of both rehabilitative and permanent alimony could be established.
Q. What is the normal procedure regarding the marital home in divorce proceedings?
A. There is no normal procedure regarding the marital home in divorce proceedings. The home may be sold with the equity being divided 50/50. The wife or husband may be allowed to live in the home for a certain number of years with the equity being divided when the house is finally sold. One party may receive the house as part of the separation agreement. There are many variables in deciding who will retain possession or how the equity will be divided in a marital home during divorce proceedings.
Q. What are the proper procedures to follow if a spouse stops making alimony payments?
A. The court has provided a number of ways in which a spouse can collect alimony payments that have not been made. The methods include contempt proceedings, attachment proceedings, garnishment proceedings, and a variety of other actions available to insure that alimony payments are met.
Q. How difficult is it to modify a divorce agreement and judgment after the divorce?
A. There are three areas that are generally subject to modification after a divorce. They are (1) modification of parental responsibility, (2) modification of alimony, and (3) modification of child support. All three areas have definite procedures that can be followed to change judgments and agreements with appropriate cause. The courts will not hesitate to make changes in judgments or agreements if there is a sufficiency of pleadings to show just cause.