Alimony awards, also called "spousal support," are usually granted at the court’s discretion upon a determination, which takes into account certain factors, that spousal maintenance is necessary. Some of the factors considered when determining alimony payments include the education of the spouses, their respective work experiences, income histories, ages, health, the length of the marriage, and the time either spouse has spent out of the work force. Alimony may be either temporary (often called "rehabilitative alimony") or permanent. The court grants rehabilitative spousal support when one spouse has been disadvantaged in order to equalize the burden of the divorce.
Reimbursement support is one way in which a spouse (the paying spouse) who received the other spouse’s (the receiving spouse’s) monetary support during marriage repays that support after the parties divorce. The benefit rendered could be in the form of educational costs, money spent toward establishing or operating a business for the supported spouse, and similar types of support. To be eligible for reimbursement support, the benefits should have been received during the marriage, and the receiving spouse should have provided most of the family support during the marriage period in question.
By its legal definition, the "relation back doctrine" enables a plaintiff to correct a pleading error, by adding either a new claim or a new party, after the expiration of the statutory limitation period. In some cases, spouses who are parties to subsequent marriages have attempted to assert the "relation back" doctrine to persuade courts to reinstate/reinforce alimony or maintenance payments from their previous marriage(s).
As the name implies, "equitable distribution" seeks to give the divorce court some discretion to distribute property equitably in divorce. Many common-law states and some community property states use equitable distribution for dividing marital assets and debts between divorcing spouses. Many equitable distribution states also apply the scheme to divisible property, and some so-called "all property" states may apply it to all of the spouses’ property.
In divorce cases, courts usually must divide the parties’ marital property between them. Marital property usually includes both marital assets and marital debts, and generally consists of all property acquired by both or either of the spouses during the marriage, other than property acquired by inheritance or gift from a third party. State divorce laws handle marital property differently depending on whether the state follows equitable distribution, straight community property, "all property," or dual property rules.