How Does Reimbursement Spousal Support Work?

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There are several types of spousal support that may be ordered in the event of a divorce, including reimbursement spousal support, as well as temporary and permanent spousal support. Whenever any type of spousal support is considered, the court will look at several different things. Factors the court looks at include whether or not one spouse can pay and how much the other spouse can earn on his own.  Additional factors include how long the parties were married and whether or not the union produced any children. For reimbursement spousal support, however, the rules and considerations may be a bit different.

Determining Spousal Support

When ordered, spousal support can be either temporary or permanent. Reimbursement spousal support is generally considered to be a form of temporary support. The order for reimbursement spousal support is set in place with the idea that monies will be reimbursed to one spouse based on his financial or emotional contribution that allowed the other spouse to increase his income.
  • For example, it is not uncommon for one spouse to pay for the other to attend college or gain a higher degree.  
  • If your soon-to-be ex-spouse paid for your tuition through law school or medical school or even to simply get an undergraduate education, then he or she can make a request to the courts for reimbursement spousal support wherein you will need to pay back a portion of the money that your spouse exhausted on your education.  
  • Another instance where spousal support might be appropriate is if your spouse fronted the money for you to start a small business that, throughout the duration of your marriage, became a profitable business.  In a sense the courts might view the front money provided to you by your spouse as a means of helping you further your career.  In light of this, reimbursement support can be requested and you will need to make a financial arrangement to pay back the money fronted to you by your spouse.
A reimbursement spousal support arrangement will either include monthly payments towards the balance owed or one lump sum payment.  The details of the reimbursement spousal support order will usually be discussed between the parties and, if an effective agreement cannot be reached, then the courts will decide on a fair and equitable arrangement that will be in the best interest of both parties. 

Getting Help

If you find that you are in a situation where you might be forced to pay reimbursement support or where you believe you are entitled to reimbursement support, you should retain the services of a divorce attorney. Your lawyer can help you to fully understand the process and to make sure any agreement you arrive at is fair to both parties.
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