It is, and it really depends upon what state you’re in. For example, in New York, that medical and dentist license does have an actual dollar amount to it and does actually have a value to it. However, in New Jersey, it is not valued; the actual license does not have a specific monetary value.
That being said, the spouse who put the other spouse through school would be entitled to reimbursement alimony – assuming that the spouse with the professional license is utilizing their license in their new profession as well as has shown that there’s an increased earning history based upon receiving this degree. For example, if you put someone through medical school or dental school and they suddenly have a booming practice, and you’re really dealing with a short-term marriage, then somebody absolutely would be entitled to what’s called “reimbursement alimony.” And this would be an enhanced version of alimony that is to compensate the spouse based upon this enhanced earning that that person has.
However, if you’re looking at a degree that a spouse may not be earning as much on, you may not receive that. For example, if you put someone through seminary school and that person is now purposing, not earning what they previously were earning, that is a reason that you may not receive reimbursement alimony. So, once again, it’s really a case-by-case basis.
Alison C. Leslie, Esq. practices family law exclusively in her Morristown, NJ offices, where she offers her clients the individualized attention of a solo practitioner with the experience of a larger firm.