How is Alimony Calculated in Alabama?
When a couple is married, they receive the benefit of financial support that inherently comes with marriage. If the marriage dissolves, this could cause a financial hardship for one of the parties, allowing them to ask for financial support from the other.
In the state of Alabama, alimony is also referred to as spousal support. This is the amount of money that one ex-spouse pays to another, by court order, for assistance. The payments are meant to help the receiving party preserve the economic status that they had during the marriage.
Alimony can be paid to an ex-spouse in several ways. It can be in a lump sum payment, called “alimony in gross,” or in periodic payments for a specified period. Here are the different types of alimony as well as how those figures are calculated in Alabama.
Alimony in Gross
Alimony in gross is a single, or lump sum, payment of spousal support that is often used as a way to transfer property or other assets. This is awarded by the courts, no modifications are possible, and the order is permanent 30 days after the final divorce decree. This type of alimony isn’t canceled by a remarriage and also ignores the recipient’s separate estate.
Periodic Alimony Payments
Periodic alimony is a set of specified payments that are made to an ex-spouse over a predetermined period of time. The courts may select an ending date for payments, or they might be permanent. For example, the courts might order an ex-spouse to pay $600 each month for 72 months, with a specific starting date. If the award is for permanent alimony, it will just specify that $600 per month should be paid with mention of a specific starting date.
Periodic alimony payments can be modified by the courts under certain conditions. For example, if the income of the parties changes or if the receiving party remarries, there is a possibility of modification.
Rehabilitative or Temporary Alimony
Rehabilitative or temporary alimony is similar to periodic alimony but the payments are for a shorter duration. When two parties divorce, it may take some time for one of them to get back on their financial feet and re-enter the workforce, if necessary. This type of support can be provided for several years so that an ex-spouse can finish their degree, pay off debts, and obtain gainful employment.
If there is a substantial change in the circumstances of one or both parties, it is possible to receive a modification on one of these support orders.
Factors Used to Calculate Alimony in Alabama
While there is no statutory formula for calculating alimony, the Alabama courts may consider certain factors when they award support. It is important to understand that the court will decide what factors to consider, and how to weight those considerations, when determining alimony. Unfortunately, this can lead to some inconsistent awards, which is just one of the reasons that having a qualified Alabama family law attorney on your case is essential.
Some of the factors that the court might consider when calculating and awarding alimony include:
- The length of the marriage
- Each party’s current wages and future earning capacity
- The type and value of property owned
- The ages and health of the parties
- The conduct of the parties
- Any other factors that the court feels are relevant
Alimony in Alabama is rarely awarded for marriages that lasted less than 12 years, but it does happen. Support can be awarded to either party in a divorce proceeding, even someone who didn’t request alimony. Finally, Alabama does allow for the prior misdeeds of a party to be a consideration in an alimony case.
Alimony in Alabama can be a complicated issue, and it’s nearly impossible to figure out these types of payments in advance. While the goal of the courts is to be fair, the best way to ensure that this happens is to have an experienced Alabama family law attorney in your corner. Contact the Dothan, Alabama office of Smith & McGhee now at 334-708-3158 or online to find out how we can best represent your interests.