Alimony Lawyer in Athens and Huntsville, AL

Alimony Legal Support

The purpose of Alimony in Alabama is to ensure that both spouses are financially able to pay ordinary living expenses during and after the divorce. There are three types of Alimony in Alabama: Interim, Periodic, and Permanent.

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Interim Support

Interim support, or “alimony pendente lite,” is a temporary award that provides a party financial assistance while waiting on the settlement of the divorce process. The party that petitions the Court for Interim support from a spouse must prove that there is a need for support, that the spouse can provide it, and that the marriage is valid. An award of Interim Support automatically terminates upon entry of the final judgment.

Permanent Alimony

Permanent Alimony is increasingly rare, though it may be an option for some couples, particularly in situations where one spouse has a permanent disability or is too old to begin a career and become self-supporting.

Periodic Alimony

Periodic Alimony is the scenario where one spouse provides a set amount of support to the other on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis for a specific time. Periodic Alimony is awarded to a spouse who 1.) lacks a separate estate, or his or her separate estate is insufficient to enable the party to acquire the ability to preserve, to the extent possible, the economic status quo of the parties as it existed during the marriage, and 2.) where the other party has the ability to supply those means without economic hardship, and 3.) the circumstances of the case make it equitable.

The most common type of Periodic Alimony is “rehabilitative support,” which is a payment to the lesser earning spouse until that spouse can obtain proper job training, skills, or education to enter the workforce and become self-supporting. Note, this award is mostly found in cases where one party left the workforce to raise a family. Rehabilitative Alimony is limited to a maximum of 5 years, absent extraordinary circumstances.

Periodic Payments or Lump Sum?

Most often, Alimony payments are periodic, and either bi-weekly or monthly. The payments are assured through an income withholding order issued by the Divorce Court. The income withholding order is then sent to the paying spouse’s employer. When the employer receives the Order, it must withhold the support amount from each paycheck.

NOTE

Failure to pay court ordered support may result in penalties that include fines, interest, increase in the duration of support, garnishment of tax returns and bank accounts, property liens, or even time in jail.

Taxes & Alimony

As of January 1, 2019, alimony payments are no longer tax-deductible to the payer and are no longer counted as income for the recipient spouse for tax purposes.

Modifying or Terminating an Alimony Order

The Court can modify or terminate existing support orders where the filing party can demonstrate that, since the last Order, there has been a material change of circumstances of one or both parties. Some of the factors a Court may consider in modifying an order include:

  • A change in the employment status of the receiving spouse
  • A change in the financial circumstances of either party
  • A significant change in the health or education level of either party

Importantly, the Law allows the Court to terminate an Alimony Order if any of the following circumstances exist:

  • The recipient spouse remarries (note the remarriage of a paying spouse will do little to change the support obligation)
  • The recipient spouse cohabitates with or is living openly in a marriage-like relationship with a member of the opposite sex (the Court hasn’t addressed how this factor impacts same-sex couples.) (Ala. Code §30-2-55).