The state of California offers three different types of alimony. The first is temporary alimony, which the court may award for the period of time while the divorce proceeding is pending. This gives the receiving party the necessary assistance that he or she needs until the court decides on a long-term solution.
Permanent alimony, despite its name, is normally not permanent. It may take the form of a lump sum payment or periodic payments over a certain length of time. It could even mean payments to a trust, an annuity or a specific service provider. The law leaves the amount and duration of these payments up to the discretion of the judge, though it does provide guidelines for what factors to consider.
The court may award rehabilitative alimony when one party needs retraining before being able to re-enter the workforce. The purpose of this type of alimony is to help the recipient become self-sufficient. This is common when one parent left the workforce or worked only part-time during the marriage to be able to care for children or the home. The state limits the length of time a party can receive this type of assistance, but the party may petition for an extension with a valid reason.
The court will normally determine who will receive spousal support payments and how much they will receive during divorce proceedings. Either party's attorney could request alimony before and during the proceedings, and a party can receive more than one type of alimony with any divorce. Those who are going through a divorce and will need some form of financial assistance can benefit from the advice and counsel of a family law attorney.
Source: National Paralegal College, "Types of Alimony / Spousal Support", November 12, 2014