Alimony Lawyer in Huntsville, Alabama
During divorce proceedings in Alabama, the court’s intention is to ensure that each party’s economic status remains as it was during the marriage. To this end, either spouse may seek and obtain financial support alimony — known as “maintenance” or “spousal support” — if he or she can show a need and demonstrate that the other party can pay.
Like most decisions in a divorce settlement, a judge will determine whether to order alimony payments and how much they will be. Ensuring that this decision is fair and proper requires making sure the judge has complete and accurate information about each spouse’s finances, lifestyle, conduct, and more. Alimony that is unfairly awarded or denied can cause lasting financial hardship for one or both spouses.
The knowledgeable Huntsville divorce attorneys from New Beginnings Family Law will conduct a thorough review of your and your spouse’s finances so you can make reasoned decisions related to your divorce. We always seek to facilitate an equitable and fair distribution of assets, including for spousal maintenance when appropriate. Our focus will be on protecting your right to a stable financial future.
Contact us to schedule a divorce or alimony consultation in Huntsville and the surrounding areas by calling (256) 518-9529 or filling out our online form today. Our team has more than a decade of experience developing fair and equitable alimony agreements as part of divorce settlements, and we are sensitive to our clients’ needs during this difficult time.
Is Alimony a Possibility in Your Alabama Divorce?
Alimony paid by one former spouse to another in a divorce is not meant to be punishment. It should be based on the receiving spouse’s bona fide need and calculated according to the other spouse’s ability to pay.
Alabama law recognizes an obligation for each spouse in a divorce to support themselves by working. However, the courts seek to preserve the economic status that existed during the marriage for both parties in a divorce. If you and your spouse have income that is about equal, alimony is not likely. If one spouse refuses to work for a living, that person will not receive alimony.
However, the judge presiding over your divorce in Alabama has total discretion in the question of alimony. Once marital property has been divided, the judge will consider any request for alimony in gross. He or she may consider any factor necessary to reach a just settlement, such as:
- The length of the marriage. Alimony is unlikely in Alabama if the marriage has not lasted for 10 years or longer.
- Standard of living established during the marriage.
- Each spouse’s financial condition, including all available sources of income and ability to earn a living after the divorce.
- Each spouse’s age and health.
- The value and type of property each spouse owns.
- The contribution of either spouse to the marriage, such as having been the primary homemaker or child care provider.
- Conduct that led to breakdown of the marriage. Misconduct, such as adultery, would hurt a spouse’s argument that he or she deserved alimony or should not be required to make maintenance payments.
If awarded, alimony may be temporary, “rehabilitative” payments for education, retraining, etc., or it may be permanent maintenance. The judge may order a lump-sum payment, periodic payments (e.g., a monthly check), or both.
A spouse who can demonstrate the need may also seek temporary alimony during the divorce process pending issuance of the final divorce decree. This is known as “pendente lite alimony.”
How to Settle on Alimony Payments
Proving or disproving the factors necessary to obtain alimony or to avoid payments can be complex and difficult. In the end, it is up to the judge whether to award payment and in what amount. Unlike child support, there is no formula in Alabama for calculating alimony payments.
Our dedicated divorce attorneys will identify and document financial holdings of you and your spouse, as well as other assets, as part of our due diligence in the preparation for divorce proceedings. If you or your spouse are seeking alimony, we will gather evidence to document additional information relevant to the request, such as:
- Employment and salary history
- Additional income sources and amounts
- Marital household spending (i.e., standard of living)
- Education, training, and experience applicable to potential employment
- Costs of needed education or training toward employment
- Past household contributions (housekeeping, child care, yardwork, maintenance, etc.) and their monetary value
- Allegations of marital misconduct
We will negotiate alimony payments on your behalf based on documented need and ability to provide, not emotion. In accordance with our firm’s philosophy, as well as Alabama divorce law, our goal will be payment that is fair and ensures the general lifestyle you (and your children) enjoyed previously.
Ending or Modifying Alimony Payments in Alabama
Most people think that alimony automatically ends if the former spouse receiving payments remarries. In reality, the party paying maintenance to a former spouse must ask the court to modify the divorce agreement.
In Alabama, the paying party may request an end to payments if he or she can show that the former spouse receiving alimony has remarried or is living (cohabiting) with a member of the opposite sex. Periodic alimony may be modified at any time for “changed circumstances,” such the payor losing his or her job or incurring substantial medical expenses, or the recipient enjoying a windfall and no longer having a bona fide need.
Contact a Alimony Attorney in Huntsville, AL Today!
At New Beginnings Family Law, our skilled divorce attorneys can assist with alimony modification and other changes to the terms of your divorce, regardless of whether we originally handled your case.