The financial ramifications of divorce can be one of its most stressful aftermaths. It’s not uncommon for divorcees to find themselves suffering financially after the dissolution of their marriage.
Alimony, also known as spousal support or spousal maintenance, is awarded to remove the financial disparity in such cases where a substantial income gap between divorcing spouses is clearly evident. This happens more often where one of the spouses is a stay-at-home parent helping raise the kids, and the other earns all or most of the household income. However, all divorce cases do not necessarily qualify for alimony.
A multitude of factors regarding whether to award, how much to award, and for how long; are considered by the court before deciding about spousal maintenance. Fewer issues in a divorce proceeding are as contentious and acrimonious as alimony. It is prudent to choose a competent attorney with extensive experience for divorce or any other family legal matters in Alabama.
Who Qualifies for Alimony?
In divorce proceedings in the court, the onus is on the dependent spouse to clearly and firmly establish that in addition to their being financially dependent on the other spouse, the other spouse is also capable of paying alimony. The court may look at a number of things, including the presence of separate assets and the division of marital assets.
There is no specific blueprint for deciding spousal maintenance in Auburn AL, with the courts enjoying wide discretion to determine the amount of alimony or whether to award it at all.
For instance, if one spouse is dependent on the other for their finances, but owns separate assets worth $200,000, they are unlikely to win any substantial financial support. Similarly, if there is a division of marital assets to take the income disparity into account a divorce court may not award alimony at all.
Common Factors that Decide Alimony Issues in Auburn, AL
- Income and realistic earning potential of each spouse
- Fault in the divorce (may go in favor of the wronged spouse in the eyes of law)
- One of the spouses having given up their education or career opportunities to support the other spouse or the family
- Health and age of the spouses
- The quality of life enjoyed by the spouses during the marriage
Types of Alimony in Auburn, AL
There are several types of alimony that Alabama courts award, based on the length of your marriage, your position in the divorce process, and other specific circumstances of your case. These are:
Interim, or Temporary, Alimony
Temporary alimony is awarded while the judgment in your divorce case is pending, between the filing of divorce papers and when the court grants the divorce. Interim support helps the financially weaker spouse to meet their financial obligations till they receive the final divorce decree granting them alimony.
Periodic, or Rehabilitative, Alimony
Rehabilitative support, the most common spousal maintenance, is paid until the financially dependent spouse can become self-sufficient by joining the workforce. The purpose of this solution is to give the supported spouse sufficient time to gain the education, training, or experience required for them to be financially independent.
Typically, the higher-earning spouse pays the periodic alimony to the supported spouse weekly, bi-weekly, or every month.
Since the divorce laws focus more on helping the financially weaker spouse gain financial independence, awarding lifelong spousal support has become increasingly rare across the United States, with Alabama being no exception.
However, in certain situations where the supported spouse may not be in a position to support themselves due to illness or other legitimate career roadblocks, there is a case for rewarding permanent spousal support. Permanent support may continue until the death of either of the spouses.
Modification or Termination of Alimony
Under Alabama law, any material change in the circumstances of either spouse allows for increasing, reducing, or eliminating spousal support. Here are some of the common reasons for terminating or modifying alimony under Auburn’s divorce laws:
- In case either spouse passes away
- When the spouse receiving alimony remarries
- When the spouse receiving alimony becomes gainfully employed
- In case of a sudden change in the financial situation of the spouse receiving alimony
- In case of a sudden downward change in the financial situation of the spouse paying alimony; due to ill-health, job loss, or a sudden drop in earnings.
What Happens When the Supported Spouse Remarries?
If your financially dependent spouse chooses to remarry or start cohabitating with an unmarried adult, you may file a petition in court to terminate alimony. However, you will first need to make sure that your divorce settlement does not specifically set forth any condition for your spousal support payments to continue even after your ex-spouse enters a remarriage or cohabitation.
Choose a Seasoned Auburn Attorney for Your Family Law Needs
Many times, the battling spouses agree upon alimony through the negotiation process, instead of going to the court, giving themselves a degree of control over their mutual decision. Whether you are trying to petition for alimony or you are in a position where you may need to pay alimony, you will need a stellar and committed family law attorney to help and guide you.
Working with the skilled team at the Alsobrook Law Group, you can rest assured that we will always prioritize your best interests. Our attorneys are ready to help you start the new life you deserve on solid financial footing. Call us today at 334-345-2765 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation with one of our Auburn, AL family law attorneys.