Going through a divorce can be emotionally draining, and it can also drain your finances. It is common for one spouse to need some financial support during and after the divorce process. If the other spouse can afford to pay it, the court may award one spouse payments known as alimony, spousal maintenance, or spousal support. Alimony is awarded to help ensure that each spouse can afford their living expenses during and after the divorce. The spouse who earns the wage or a higher wage could be ordered by the court to pay financial support to the other spouse for a set amount of time.
If you are concerned about how you will pay your bills while you are going through a divorce or once you are newly single, it will be to your benefit to reach out to an experienced Huntsville alimony attorney. Your attorney can help you determine if you are eligible to receive spousal support and, if so, how much you might receive.
The Different Types of Alimony in Alabama
Before 2017, family courts could give spouses temporary, periodic, or permanent support in a divorce case. Many states are starting to phase the later out, including Alabama. When Alabama HB 257 was passed, the court became limited by strict guidelines when awarding permanent alimony. In this state, alimony is now limited to five years. This law has made it more difficult for spouses to be awarded permanent alimony. If you need to receive permanent support, a knowledgeable Huntsville alimony lawyer can help you work towards this goal.
Being married for more than 20 years, having a permanent disability, or being at an age where it would not make sense to start a new career to support yourself can help convince the court that you should receive permanent spousal maintenance.
Interim spousal support is intended to give one spouse the financial assistance they need while the divorce is ongoing. To receive interim support, you or your Huntsville alimony attorney must prove that:
- You need to receive support
- You soon to be ex-spouse can afford to provide you with it
- Your marriage is valid
Unfortunately, it can take time for the court to process your request for interim support. In these cases, the judge can make your temporary support retroactive to the date that you or your spouse filed for divorce. If you have the representation of a dedicated Huntsville alimony attorney, they can help ensure that you receive this. Keep in mind, however, that when your final order of divorce is issued, your temporary support will come to an end.
The other type of spousal support is called periodic alimony. This financial support is provided on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis for a predetermined amount of time. Rehabilitative support is the most common type of periodic financial support. The spouse who earns less receives this payment so that they can receive job training, education, or the skills they need to enter the workforce.
The goal is for them to become self-supporting so that the alimony can end. In family situations where one spouse left the workforce to raise children, it is common for them to receive periodic alimony until their financial situation is able to stabilize.
Will You Qualify for Spousal Support?
Your Huntsville alimony lawyer can review the circumstances of your divorce and the finances in the marriage to help you determine if you could qualify for spousal maintenance. The court uses several factors to determine if you qualify for alimony. There is not a one-size-fits-all answer for every divorcing couple. For example, the court will assess if you are financially dependent on the other spouse, and if your spouse is capable of paying alimony.
When determining this, the court will consider if you have separate assets or marital assets you will receive in the divorce through equitable property division that can be a means of support if you are not provided with alimony payments. To make this determination, the courts must complete property division within the divorce proceedings.
Any property that your spouse owned prior to your marriage, unless it was utilized as a source of income for the marriage, will not be considered when it comes to determining alimony. It is important to note that retirement accounts are no longer considered when determining spousal support.
There is no alimony formula for judges to rely on. It is up to their sole discretion. Family courts generally examine the following factors when determining if one spouse deserve alimony and how much they should receive:
- Age and health of you and your spouse
- The standard of living during the marriage for each spouse
- The relative fault of each spouse in the divorce
- Future employment prospects for each of you
- If one spouse contributed to the other’s education or their ability to earn
- If one party experienced decreased income or fewer career opportunities for the other spouse’s benefit
- Excessive spending, destruction, concealment, or fraudulent disposition of marital property
- If there are any expenses incurred because of acts of domestic violence
Do You Need Help with Your Alimony? Call an Experienced Huntsville Alimony Attorney Today
No matter what type of spousal support you are seeking, having a Huntsville alimony lawyer on your side will usually result in a better outcome. At Cloud, Ryan & Rouse, the success of your legal case is a reflection of our ability to practice law effectively. We strive to make your life easier as you go through the often-confusing process of a divorce. When you hire a seasoned Huntsville alimony lawyer from our office, you have a dedicated advocate on your side. Our attorneys take the time to understand the goals you have for your family in the process of a divorce. We also take the time to educate you about how the law can impact your goals.
Get the help you need today to secure your alimony payments. Schedule your consultation by calling us at 256-801-1000 or using our convenient online contact form.