Alimony, also referred to as spousal support, may be awarded to either spouse. The court has broad discretion in deciding whether to grant alimony at all, how much to grant, and for how long. It is no longer automatic, and is based on the receiving spouse’s need and the paying spouse’s ability to pay. Huntsville alimony lawyer Sarah Rutledge can help you if you are seeking alimony for yourself, your spouse is seeking alimony from you, or you need to modify an existing alimony order. Please do not hesitate to call and schedule your free initial consultation.
Alabama Alimony Basics
The purpose of alimony is to help the lower earning spouse maintain the lifestyle enjoyed during the marriage, especially if the marriage was long and the lower earning spouse contributed to the earning power of the higher earning spouse. Temporary alimony can be awarded to support a spouse while the divorce proceeds.
Permanent alimony may be granted in the final divorce orders. Permanent alimony can be a lump sum or periodic payments that are typically monthly or bi-weekly payments. Although it is called “permanent” it may be ordered for a certain amount of time.
When the marriage was short, alimony is often ordered only until the lower earning spouse can improve their own earning power or income by getting an education or training or even simply finding a job. This is often referred to as “rehabilitative alimony” and is meant to help the spouse get back on their feet.
When making alimony decisions, the court may consider many factors including:
- The length of the marriage
- The age and health of each spouse
- The lower earning spouse’s contribution to the earning power of the other spouse
- The contributions of the lower earning spouse as a parent and/or homemaker
- Future opportunities of each spouse to acquire income and assets
- The needs of the children
- Fault, on the part of either spouse, in the divorce
- How the marital property was divided
Termination or Modification of Alimony Payments in Alabama
An alimony order for periodic payments can be modified if there is a change in circumstance. Typically this applies if the paying spouse has a significant drop in income that was not intentional. Alimony is terminated if the receiving spouse remarries or cohabitates in a marriage-like relationship.
To learn more about alimony and how we can protect your rights in Huntsville Alabama, please call the Law Office of Sarah Elise Rutledge, LLC at 251-300-1653 or contact us online today to schedule your free consultation.