How Long do you Have to be Married to get Alimony in Auburn, AL?

How Long do you Have to be Married to get Alimony in Auburn, AL?

Many people considering divorce in Auburn, AL wonder, “How long do you have to be married to get alimony?” There’s a common misconception that Alabama law sets a minimum marriage duration for spousal support (also known as alimony or spousal maintenance). The truth is, the length of your marriage is just one factor Alabama courts consider when awarding alimony. 

Understanding Alimony in Alabama   

Alimony is a financial award paid from one spouse (the paying spouse) to the other spouse (the receiving spouse) after a divorce in Auburn. Its purpose is to help the receiving spouse maintain a standard of living somewhat comparable to what they enjoyed during the marriage, especially if they were financially dependent on the paying spouse. 

No Minimum Marriage Duration Requirement in Alabama  

Alabama law does not have a set minimum number of years you must be married to qualify for alimony. Auburn area courts consider various factors in each case to determine if alimony is appropriate and, if so, the amount and duration of the alimony award. 

Types of Alimony Recognized in Alabama  

Alabama recognizes two primary types of alimony: 

  • Temporary Alimony (Rehabilitative Alimony): This type is designed to provide the receiving spouse with financial support for a limited period. Its purpose is to allow them to obtain education, training, or work experience to become self-sufficient and achieve financial independence. Temporary alimony is more common in shorter marriages in Alabama. 
  • Permanent Alimony: Permanent alimony awards are less common in Alabama and typically reserved for long-term marriages where the receiving spouse may have difficulty achieving financial independence due to factors like advanced age, health limitations, or lack of job skills. The likelihood of permanent alimony increases with the length of the marriage in Alabama. 

Factors Alabama Courts Consider for Alimony Awards   

Auburn area courts consider several factors when deciding whether to award alimony and, if so, the amount and duration. Here are some key factors judges evaluate: 

  • Length of Marriage: While not a strict requirement, the length of the marriage does play a role in alimony determinations. Generally, alimony awards are more likely in longer marriages, especially those exceeding 20 years in duration.  
  • Age and Health of Each Spouse: The age and health of both spouses are important considerations in Auburn, AL alimony cases. If the receiving spouse has health limitations that hinder their ability to work and support themselves, they may be more likely to receive alimony in Alabama. 
  • Earning Capacity of Each Spouse: Courts will consider each spouse’s current income and future earning potential. If there’s a significant disparity in earning capacity between the spouses, alimony may be awarded to address the imbalance and potential financial hardship.  
  • Educational Level of Each Spouse: The educational background of each spouse is a factor in alimony decisions. If the receiving spouse has limited education or job skills due to their role in the marriage (e.g., stay-at-home parent), Auburn courts may award alimony to allow them to pursue further education or training to improve their earning capacity and maintain a reasonable standard of living.  
  • Property Division in the Divorce Settlement: The division of marital property in the divorce settlement is considered by courts when determining alimony. If the receiving spouse receives a smaller share of assets in the property division, alimony may help bridge the financial gap. 
  • Child Custody Arrangements (if applicable): If children are involved and the receiving spouse is granted primary custody, alimony may be awarded to help cover child-related expenses in addition to any court-ordered child support. 
  • Fault Grounds for Divorce (if applicable): While not the primary factor, Alabama is one of the few states where courts may still consider marital misconduct or the reason for the divorce (fault grounds) when awarding alimony. For example, if the divorce is a result of the paying spouse’s infidelity or abandonment, the receiving spouse may be more likely to receive alimony. 

Alimony in Short-Term Marriages in Alabama 

While alimony awards are less frequent in short-term marriages (under 10 years), it’s not entirely out of the question in Alabama. In some cases, courts may award temporary or rehabilitative alimony to help the receiving spouse re-enter the workforce or pursue education or training to become financially self-sufficient, even in a shorter marriage. 

The court will still consider factors like earning capacity, age, health, and the division of marital property when determining if temporary alimony is warranted in a short-term marriage in Alabama. The duration of rehabilitative alimony in shorter marriages is typically limited, giving the receiving spouse time to get back on their feet financially. 

Alimony in Long-Term Marriages in Alabama 

In long-term marriages (typically exceeding 20 years), the possibility of permanent alimony awards increases. The factors mentioned above play a significant role, with a stronger emphasis on the receiving spouse’s potential limitations in achieving self-sufficiency due to their advanced age, health issues, or lack of job skills gained during the lengthy marriage.   

Auburn area courts may view a spouse who has been out of the workforce for decades as having a much harder time becoming financially independent, compared to a spouse from a shorter marriage. The duration and amount of permanent alimony in a long-term marriage in Alabama will be determined by the court based on the specific circumstances of the case. Online alimony calculators can provide a rough estimate of potential alimony awards in Alabama based on factors like income and marriage duration.  

Navigating Alimony in Your Auburn, AL Divorce

There is no set rule in Alabama law for how long you need to be married to get alimony. The decision to award alimony depends on a variety of factors evaluated by Auburn courts, including the length of the marriage, earning capacities, age and health of each spouse, and more.  

While alimony is less common in shorter marriages, courts may still award temporary or rehabilitative alimony in certain circumstances. In long-term marriages over 20 years, the likelihood of permanent alimony increases if the receiving spouse demonstrates a limited ability to become financially independent. 

Ultimately, every divorce case is unique, and alimony determinations depend on the specific facts of the case. If you have questions about alimony for your particular situation, it’s best to consult with an experienced Auburn, AL divorce attorney. 

Don’t Settle for Less. Get the Alimony You Deserve in Your Auburn, AL Divorce. 

At Alsobrook Law Group, our experienced family law attorneys have a deep understanding of Alabama’s alimony laws and a proven track record of achieving favorable outcomes for our clients. We recognize that every divorce case is unique, and we take the time to thoroughly evaluate your specific circumstances, including the length of your marriage, earning capacities, age and health, and other relevant factors.  

Contact us today to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team.