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Understanding alimony in Alabama

On Behalf of | Dec 15, 2021 | Divorce |

There are a lot of uncertainties when going through a divorce. Perhaps one of the biggest uncertainties that you will face is whether you will still feel financially secure once your divorce is over. This is a concern shared by many women in Alabama. The good news is that alimony — also referred to as spousal support — is often a viable option. 

Alimony is a payment that one divorced spouse makes to his or her ex. The point of alimony is not to punish the payer, but to provide much-needed financial support to the recipient. It is a vital part of helping those who earned less over the course of a marriage maintain a reasonably similar standard of living. 

Who decides alimony? 

There are generally two ways in which you can get alimony. The first is you and your spouse can simply agree on it. This is a great option for divorcing couples who can still cooperate reasonably well and hope to limit their time spent in court. 

When this is not an option, a judge may order support. Support is often a decision that is part of divorce proceedings when a judge is also rendering other decisions on the final divorce settlement. However, a judge may also order temporary support prior to the conclusion of a divorce. 

What factors go into eligibility? 

There are a number of reasons why you might need alimony after divorce. Maybe you took a lower-paying job in order to better support your spouse’s career, or perhaps you had to take time off work to care for children or other family members. Whatever the reason, the judge will consider some of the following factors when considering eligibility: 

  • Your financial condition and needs 
  • Your ex-spouse’s earning capacity and employment 
  • Whether anything will interfere with your earning capacity after divorce 

While having a child typically does not factor into alimony, there are situations where it is appropriate to consider this factor. For example, if you have a young or disabled child, you might not be able to re-enter the workforce in the near future. This will factor heavily into whether you are eligible for alimony. 

How much will I get? 

The amount of alimony you will receive is unique to your situation. You can expect the judge to consider things like how long you were married, your ex’s age, how long you will need support and your standard of living during marriage. The judge will weigh all of this against your ex’s ability to pay. 

Alimony is just one of several different factors that can determine your financial stability after divorce. The outcome of property division is another significant factor, as is child support if you have custody of your children. Paying attention to these different areas can be a challenge though, which is why many choose to learn as much as possible about Alabama family law at the outset of divorce.