In many divorces, separated partners can sometimes highly contest alimony—the amount of financial support one spouse pays another. Many factors determine if one spouse should receive alimony, how much they should receive, and for how long. The courts also determine the type of alimony payments one spouse must pay.
Our attorneys know how to fight for fair divorces and alimony payments. A Huntsville alimony lawyer from Charlotte Christian Law can help you present the best possible case, whether you must prove that you need alimony payments or fight against paying them unnecessarily. We are here to support you throughout the process and provide the legal services you need.
What Is Alimony?
Alimony is the money one spouse must pay the other to support them financially after a divorce. Alimony usually lasts for a set time, unless the marriage lasted 20 years or more.
Alabama law states that alimony terminates if the receiving spouse remarries or cohabitates with a member of the opposite sex. If you have already received past alimony, you do not have to reimburse the person who paid.
Types of Alimony Available in Alabama
In Alabama, there are three types of alimony: interim support, periodic alimony, and permanent alimony. The courts will look at certain factors to determine the type of alimony one spouse pays.
Interim support refers to the alimony that one spouse pays during divorce proceedings. This temporary spousal support ends when the divorce proceedings conclude.
According to Alabama law, to receive interim support, the petitioning party must:
- Maintain the validity of the marriage
- Need interim alimony
The other spouse must have the means to pay the interim alimony. Before the final judgment, the court can order the interim alimony to be modified. This modification can come without notice. Once a judge enters the final divorce judgment, it terminates the interim alimony.
Periodic alimony—also known as rehabilitative alimony—is when one spouse provides continuous alimony. Periodic alimony payments can occur weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or quarterly. In some cases, one spouse pays periodic alimony until the lesser-earning spouse can obtain employment. Once they can support themselves, the paying spouse can request to stop or modify the periodic alimony.
In Alabama, the paying spouse pays periodic alimony for a maximum of five years. However, if the lesser-earning spouse cannot support themselves financially within five years, a judge could grant the periodic alimony payments to continue. This situation usually occurs if the spouse receiving payments can prove there are reasons why they cannot become self-supported.
According to Alabama law, the courts will award periodic alimony if:
- One party lacks a separate estate, or the separate estate is insufficient to preserve the economic status quo that existed during the marriage
- The other party can supply financially without incurring an economic hardship
- The circumstances surrounding the case make it equitable
Modifying Periodic Alimony
Both parties can modify periodic alimony if they can prove to the courts there has been a change in circumstances. First, the courts will look at the estate of the lesser-earning party and determine if it is insufficient to meet the status quo of the marriage. Then, the courts will decide if the other party can pay alimony without financial difficulty.
The factors the courts will consider to determine this include:
- The individual assets of each party
- The marital property the courts gave to each party during asset division
- The liabilities that each party obtained during the asset division
- Each party’s wage-earning capacity (based on their age, health, education, work experience, etc.)
- Benefits that could assist each party’s ability to obtain and keep gainful employment
If you seek a modification, our Huntsville alimony lawyers can petition to modify the original divorce decree. We are here to guide you through the modification process and advocate for you throughout the case.
Permanent alimony has become rare in Alabama. The courts grant permanent alimony only to a couple married for over 20 years. The lesser-earning spouse will still have to convince a judge they need the support.
Factors Considered When Determining Alimony
When determining alimony, a judge will consider many factors to make equitable decisions about alimony support. A Huntsville alimony lawyer from our firm can work diligently to present your unique circumstances and argue the merits of each factor to prove that you deserve to receive alimony payments.
The courts will consider:
- The financial resources of each party (financial resources include income, property, and ability to meet their financial needs)
- The amount of time the lesser-earning spouse needs to become financially independent through education or training
- The couple’s standard of living during the marriage
- The length of time the marriage lasted
- The spouse’s ability to meet their own financial needs while paying alimony to the other
These factors can help the courts determine the type and amount of alimony paid. The Huntsville alimony lawyers at Charlotte Christian law can help you prove how you satisfy these factors to either receive alimony or fight against an alimony claim.
How Do I Qualify For Alimony?
The court orders alimony to help the lesser-earning spouse maintain their standard of living after divorce. Alimony also gives the lesser-earning spouse time to go through education or training courses to find gainful employment.
In addition to the factors listed above, the courts will also consider the age of both spouses, the health of both spouses, if the grounds for divorce were no-fault or fault-based, and more.
The difference between no-fault and fault-based divorces lies in the grounds for divorce. The grounds considered for no-fault divorces involve reasons that both spouses can agree upon. Fault-based grounds involve one spouse doing something that caused the divorce.
A no-fault divorce usually concludes faster than a fault-based divorce. In a no-fault divorce, both parties recognize that they are in an irretrievably broken marriage, and any attempts at reconciliation would not be in the best interests of the spouses or their families.
Other grounds for no-fault divorce include:
- If both spouses have voluntary abandoned the marriage
- If the spouses have incompatible differences and can no longer live together
A no-fault divorce does not necessarily mean that you or your spouse did nothing wrong. It just means that you do not want the courts to spend time assessing the grounds for divorce. In a no-fault divorce, both spouses spend time dividing assets and moving forward with the dissolution of the marriage.
The team at Charlotte Christian Law can represent you in a no-fault divorce, assist you during the asset division process, and advocate for a fair divorce settlement.
A fault-based divorce occurs when one spouse wants to hold the other accountable for their wrongdoings.
A fault-based divorce has several benefits.
For example, if:
- You and your spouse have a prenuptial agreement. Some prenuptial agreements have a clause that says one spouse will not receive assets if the other spouse commits adultery.
- Your spouse ruined the marriage, and you made many attempts to save it.
Fault-based divorces can cost more because of the time it takes to resolve them. When choosing a fault-based divorce, you must weigh the options to determine your best financial future.
The grounds for a fault-based divorce can include:
- Your spouse was physically and incurably incapacitated when entering into the marriage
- Your spouse committed adultery
- Your spouse voluntarily abandoned you for at least one year before the complaint filing
- If your spouse is in prison for at least two years with a sentence of seven years or more
- If your spouse committed a crime against nature, mankind, or beast
- If your spouse became addicted to drugs or alcohol during the marriage
While a fault-based divorce is more expensive and takes more time, it can also benefit you. To learn more about filing a fault-based divorce against your spouse, contact the knowledgeable attorneys at Charlotte Christian Law.
We Can Help With Alimony Issues in No-Fault and Fault-Based Divorces
We have helped many clients work through alimony issues in both no-fault and fault-based divorces. Regardless of the type of divorce you choose, we are here to support you through the process.
The courts will look into each spouse’s financial situation and other factors and award alimony to one spouse. The Huntsville alimony lawyers at Charlotte Christian Law can fight for you to receive the alimony payments you need.
Alimony Can Be Terminated or Modified
After the judge finalizes the divorce agreement, either spouse can attempt to terminate or modify an alimony agreement in Alabama.
To modify an alimony agreement, one or both spouses must prove a substantial change in circumstances, such as:
- The involuntary loss of a job or a significant income reduction
- The paying spouse develops an illness or disability that prevents them from continuing alimony payments
- The receiving spouse incurs an increase in income
As previously stated above, the courts can also terminate alimony if there is proof the receiving spouse is cohabitating with someone of the opposite sex or if they get remarried. Although, no alimony payments already received will have to be reimbursed.
The Consequences if You or Your Spouse Don’t Pay Alimony
A court order determines alimony payments. If a court orders alimony payments, the paying spouse must pay alimony until the court orders them to stop. If you stop making court-ordered alimony payments, you could face criminal or civil charges.
If your spouse stops making court-ordered alimony payments, our Huntsville alimony lawyers can help enforce continued alimony payments by bringing your case to court. Your ex-spouse will have the chance to explain why they failed to pay in a hearing. During the hearing, a judge will determine the validity of their reasoning.
Charlotte Christian Law Can Help With Every Step of Your Divorce
At Charlotte Christian Law, our Huntsville divorce attorneys can guide you through every step of the divorce process, including alimony and much more. We want our clients to look forward to a brighter future once the judge finalizes the divorce.
Your lawyer can begin by filing a complaint with your circuit court. A complaint documents everything needed to initiate divorce proceedings.
This document includes:
- The names of both spouses
- The ages of both spouses
- The dates of residency for both spouses
- The date of the marriage
- The location of the marriage
- Grounds for divorce
- The separation date
Once you or your spouse file the complaint, the other party will receive a copy. The spouse must respond to the circuit courts within 30 days of receiving the papers.
We Can Negotiate a Settlement or Represent You in Court
Whether you want your ex to pay spousal support or need to fight an unfair claim for alimony, our team can help. We have handled many alimony cases fighting for both sides. In fact, we are prepared to handle all aspects of your divorce settlement.
We can try to settle outside of court, so your divorce gets done faster and costs you less. But if we cannot settle amicably, we can litigate on your behalf in front of a judge.
Call a Huntsville Alimony Lawyer Today
Not everyone can receive alimony when they get divorced. Our attorneys can help present your case of why you should receive or should not pay alimony. The team at Charlotte Christian Law wants to protect your interests during a divorce and ensure that any alimony payments are fair.
Contact a Huntsville alimony lawyer from Charlotte Christian Law today at for a free, no-obligation evaluation, where we can discuss your legal rights and options. (256) 445-9206
By the end of the meeting, we hope we will answer all of your questions answered and you will know your next steps. We look forward to speaking with you.