Alimony Attorney Huntsville, Alabama
The reality of divorce in Alabama is that your finances from the time you were a couple will change. Depending on your circumstances, Alabama law may require your spouse to pay you alimony or, on the flip side, may order you to pay your spouse.
How much the alimony award will be and over what duration depends on various factors. One of our Alimony Attorney Huntsville, Alabama can help assess your particular situation. But first, what exactly is alimony?
What constitutes alimony under Alabama law?
Alimony is the financial support one spouse agrees to pay the other following a divorce. The underlying principle of alimony is to make the receiving spouse whole in their spouse’s absence once the marriage ends. A spouse often pursues alimony when they have an earning capacity far less than their spouse or didn’t work outside the home during the marriage, such as when a parent stays home to raise children.
A spouse who pays alimony may negotiate to pay out the award in periodic installments, typically monthly. Or the paying spouse may pay upfront a lump sum representing the amount they would have paid out over a certain number of years, discounted to reflect the time value of money.
In other words, for the recipient, a dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow because they have it now to do with as they like — invest, buy a home, and so forth. The paying spouse should reap a benefit for losing that opportunity, hence the discount from what they would pay if they did so in installments.
Does Alabama law include alimony?
Alabama law provides for alimony. However, awards are more difficult to come by, given a nationwide movement against alimony awards, particularly lifetime alimony.
Whether you will receive or have to pay alimony will result from a careful evaluation of your finances during the marriage, notably what each spouse contributed to the marriage, monetary and otherwise. A court will consider whether, for example, one spouse lost out on their best earning years to stay home for purposes of child-rearing and what that same spouse’s earning capacity would be if they returned to the workplace.
A skilled alimony attorney in Huntsville, Alabama, will be able to assess your circumstances and determine what you may be entitled to from your spouse or have to pay them and for how long. Call a member of our Huntsville, Alabama legal team today.
How do I know if I qualify for alimony in Alabama?
Generally speaking, a court will award alimony to help the lower-earning spouse maintain their standard of living after divorce or for rehabilitative purposes until that spouse can get back on their feet financially. An example would be so that the lower-earner can find gainful employment or start a new career.
When determining whether a spouse is entitled to alimony, a court will consider numerous factors. They are:
- How long the spouses were married
- The standard of living during the marriage
- Whether each spouse can support themselves financially
- Each spouse’s income
- The health and age of both spouses
- Why the marriage ended (Alabama law consider adultery, for example)
A court will delve deep into why one spouse seeks alimony, considering such factors as whether one spouse left a career to raise children or supported another spouse while they pursued higher education. The point is an alimony determination is not cut and dry. A Huntsville, Alabama attorney experienced in negotiating alimony can make a big difference in the amount of alimony you receive and for what duration. Reach out to our alimony attorneys today.
How much alimony can I receive in Alabama?
There is no set amount for alimony awards under Alabama law. How much a spouse receives may turn on:
- The length of the marriage
- What the standard of living was
- That spouse’s ability to earn a living
- The spouses’ income
- Both of their ages and health
- The reason why the marriage ended
Beyond that, a court will examine any unusual circumstances that would entitle one spouse to receive alimony, for instance, the recent onset of a debilitating disease. A lot goes into an alimony calculation. That’s why it’s wise to get the help of an experienced Huntsville, Alabama alimony attorney.
For how many years can I receive alimony in Alabama?
Alabama law does not limit how many years a spouse may receive alimony or require a minimum number of years. That said, specific life changes will typically end alimony for the receiving spouse. Those include whether the receiving spouse:
- Becomes self-supporting (their estate exceeds that of the paying spouse)
- Co-habitates with a member of the opposite sex
- Either spouse dies.
What is rehabilitative alimony under Alabama law?
Alabama law allows for rehabilitative alimony. It is support paid to a spouse for a designated period to enable the recipient enough time to get back on their feet, re-enter the workforce, and support themselves. The paying spouse can negotiate rehabilitative alimony to diminish over its duration. Doing so incentivizes the recipient to move their career life forward.
Can a Huntsville, Alabama court modify an alimony award?
Sometimes after an alimony award, situations change. The paying spouse may lose their job, suffer a reduction in pay or move up the pay scale substantially. Whichever spouse believes they are either paying too much in alimony or are receiving too little may file for a modification. Depending on the change in circumstance, alimony may be increased, reduced, or stopped, either temporarily or permanently. A court may rest its determination for granting a modification on the following criteria.
- How much time has elapsed between the original alimony award and modification request
- Whether the receiving spouse remarries
- Either spouse has a change in their employment status
- Either spouse experiences a significant shift in their financial picture
- Changes in either spouse’s health, age, and earning ability (i.e., receiving a new advanced degree or certification)
- Any other situation that interferes with the paying spouse’s ability to pay
Is it possible to get temporary support while my case is pending in Huntsville, Alabama court?
Alabama law allows for temporary support during a divorce. If you are concerned that you will not have enough money to take care of yourself during the divorce process, you may then file a motion for temporary support in an Alabama court.
If both spouses enjoy a civil relationship, they may agree to a temporary amount of support among themselves without ever stepping foot inside a courtroom. However, the agreement they come to should be in writing, and they should file it with the court to create a record of it.
What if my spouse refuses to pay or stops paying me alimony?
Sometimes a spouse stops paying alimony despite agreeing to it. In that case, you may file a motion for contempt in a Huntsville, Alabama court for a judge to enforce your alimony agreement or order.
Following service, the paying spouse has the right to a hearing, during which they can explain why they have failed to pay. A judge will determine whether their excuse is sufficient or not and decide from there, either compelling payment of alimony or ordering a new arrangement.
Contact our Huntsville, Alabama attorneys today.
Alimony discussions are often complicated. They can also become contentious quickly. Enlisting the help of an experienced alimony attorney can make all the difference in how your negotiation goes.
Our Huntsville, Alabama attorneys are skilled and empathetic regarding issues involving alimony, from negotiation to mediation to litigation. We are here to listen and help with your case. Call Charlotte Christian Law, P.C. today.