In Alabama, it is possible to receive alimony as a working spouse. In addition, depending on your living conditions and wages, you could receive interim maintenance during divorce proceedings and rehabilitative alimony once the court finalizes your divorce. However, the state has rules in place to ensure equitable alimony rulings.
How a Working Spouse Can Get Alimony
Whether a working spouse can receive alimony depends on several factors. If the receiving party’s estate is insufficient to afford similar living conditions as they enjoyed during the marriage, they could still receive alimony even as a working spouse.
However, if one spouse was a stay-at-home parent who was out of the workforce for years, their earning capacity could be diminished. As a result, they might have to start at a lower-income job while building up the work experience to get a job that covers their living expenses.
If the paying spouse later determines the receiving spouse has the means to support a similar lifestyle as they had before, the paying spouse could request a modification.
An Ex-Spouse Can Petition the Court for a Divorce Modification
Either ex-spouse can request a modification to the original divorce and alimony decree. For example, if the receiving spouse begins working, they could lose their alimony payments or have them reduced. Each party will offer evidence to the judge to show why alimony payments should be raised, lowered, or stay the same.
A court is more likely to accept a modification petition if both parties agree to modify the agreement. If not, the party who wants to alter the divorce decree will have to bring sufficient evidence to prove the current agreement is unfair.
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What Is Alimony?
Alimony involves one spouse providing financial support to the other during or after a divorce proceeding. Judges decide alimony orders based on if one spouse needs financial assistance and the other spouse can afford to support them.
In Alabama, a judge may review the following criteria to decide if one spouse will receive alimony:
- The extent to which each spouse could achieve a similar standard of living as they had before the divorce.
- If one spouse has a lower earning capacity because they didn’t work while staying home with the family.
- How long the marriage lasted.
- If either spouse made contributions to the other’s education or career advancement.
- Each spouse’s income, debts, and assets.
Per AL Code § 30-2-56, a court can award interim alimony during ongoing divorce proceedings. This type of alimony stops once the court finalizes the divorce.
Once the court grants the divorce, the receiving spouse could receive rehabilitative support (periodic alimony) payments. AL Code § 30-2-57 outlines the requirements for rehabilitative support:
- The receiving party could not maintain “the economic status quo” they had during the marriage.
- The payor can pay alimony without causing them financial hardship.
- The court determines “the circumstances of the case” require maintenance for an equitable resolution.
Usually, the court will place a time limit (no more than five years) on how long the receiving party will receive rehabilitative alimony. The goal is for the receiving spouse eventually to earn an income that would make spousal support unnecessary.
We Practice Alimony Cases at The Law Offices of Charlotte Christian and Associates
Our alimony lawyers can assess your situation and determine if we can help. We understand the various factors that can affect alimony payments. A lot can go into an alimony calculation, so it’s critical to have an attorney familiar with family law on your side. Whether you want to reduce or increase alimony payments, we can help.
We understand how each case is different, so we’ll take an individualized approach to your situation. As a result, we have saved millions of dollars for our previous clients.
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The Law Offices of Charlotte Christian and Associates is an award-winning firm with highly skilled attorneys knowledgeable in family law practice. We work hard to protect our clients from unreasonable alimony agreements. We aim for our clients to leave us better off than when they first came to us.
We offer consultations to potential clients to review your case, assess how we can help, and answer all your questions. Indeed, we will guide you through the process from start to finish. So, call us today to get started on your case.