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What is reimbursement alimony?

As the name implies, "reimbursement alimony" is alimony that reimburses an ex-spouse for some expense or expenses that he or she may have paid out on behalf of the ex-spouse.

Reimbursement alimony often arises in the situation where the wife supports the husband during school while he receives a degree. Should they divorce soon after he receives that degree, a court may award reimbursement alimony to her. The likelihood of reimbursement alimony lessens the greater the time between the receiving of the degree and the divorce. Should the divorce occur several years later, it is unlikely that the wife would receive reimbursement alimony. On the other hand, she may be able to receive part of the value of the degree in the equitable distribution of the marital assets. Professional practices, like but not limited to, lawyers and doctors are often subject to this type of distribution.

Reimbursement alimony can be a lump sum, but it is more likely to be paid out over a period of time.

For example: the wife supports the husband through medical school for four years and approximately one year after he graduates they divorce. The wife would most likely be entitled to reimbursement alimony, but the husband would only be able to pay her as he begins to get paid for his medical practice. A lump sum settlement would not be an appropriate solution in this situation.