The Rehabilitation Model for Alimony Awards


Kevin Spencer


Faculty editor: Paul Horton
Publication: Contemporary Legal Issues
Volume: 22
Start Page: 69
Month: December
Year: 2015
Type: Article


The rehabilitation model for alimony originated with the no-fault divorce reforms of the 1960s and 1970s, which in turn rested on a combination of equal-rights movement and increase in divorce rate. A clear majority of states today expressly authorize their courts to award rehabilitative alimony.
As its name implies, “rehabilitative alimony” properly refers to an award, typically of limited duration, made at the time of divorce to provide financial assistance to an ex-spouse for the purpose of acquiring or updating the skills or training needed to become financially independent of her former spouse. The paradigmatic recipient of rehabilitative alimony is the divorcing spouse who, having put her college education and/or career on hold to get married and become a homemaker and mother, requires a couple of years of financial support—a little more or a little less—for education and training to get back into the GDP workforce and achieve self-sufficiency. The concept behind the model, first made explicit in the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act, is that a spouse capable of earning income must do so.