When couples divorce, one spouse may agree (or be ordered by the court) to pay spousal support to the other. Spousal support (also known as alimony) can be paid for a number of reasons.
Often, support will be paid on a temporary basis to help a spouse who has been out of the workforce or who earns significantly less than their partner obtain the training or experience they need to become financially independent. Sometimes a spouse who earns significantly more than their partner will pay spousal support so that their partner can maintain relatively the lifestyle they’ve become accustomed to having during the marriage. In some rare cases, such as if one spouse is unable to work because of age or disability, they may be entitled to receive permanent alimony.
What is reimbursement alimony?
New Hampshire law also allows reimbursement alimony. This type of support is intended “to compensate the payee for economic or non-economic contribution to the financial resources of the payor, where the property subject to division…is either inappropriate or inadequate to provide such compensation.”
This is often used in cases where one spouse paid for the other’s education or training or supported the couple while the other spouse was in school or training. For example, maybe a wife put her plan to start her own business on hold to support the couple and pay to put her husband through graduate school so he could get an advanced degree. If the couple divorces before she’s able to pursue her goals, the wife might seek reimbursement alimony now that her husband is earning a good salary.
The law notes that the “contribution to the payor’s financial resources” can include “an investment of time or money.” The couple can negotiate or a court can order the amount of reimbursement alimony determined to be fair and/or for a designated period.
If you believe you are entitled to receive reimbursement alimony or if you’ve been requested or ordered to pay it, it’s important to find out more about it. Your attorney can provide valuable information and guidance.