Alimony in Alabama Divorce Cases Not a Given

Posted by Steven D. Eversole | Aug 19, 2013 | 0 Comments

Once upon a time, a divorcing woman could, almost without a doubt, count on receiving some type of alimony, regardless of whether she and her ex shared children.

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Today, our Birmingham alimony attorneys are finding that there is less and less an expectation that such benefits will be granted. In some cases where it is awarded, it's the husband who is the recipient. Even if a judge sees fit to dole out some type of spousal support payments, those payments almost surely aren't indefinite, regardless of whether the recipient spouse remains unmarried.

There are a number of reasons for the shift. A big part of it has to do with the fact that women are far more likely than ever before to be financially independent prior to the marriage. There is the presumption that she is still independent or that it will be a brief matter of time before she may be considered so once again.

Of course, there are many unions in which one spouse's career was intentionally sidelined to help further the family goals. In these cases, it is certainly not unreasonable to request support payments from the spouse who is more financially well-off.

But make no mistake: It will probably be an uphill battle to secure spousal support payments. Unlike child support payments, which are practically a given, those who fight for alimony are going to have to prove why it's necessary.

Per Alabama law, you may first be entitled to alimony payments in a "pendente lite' situation. These are temporary benefits granted while the divorce proceedings are ongoing. This is often important because this may be a time when you are at your most vulnerable. It can help to even the playing field by ensuring that one spouse isn't desperate for money by the time a divorce agreement is made, thus making him or her more likely to make unfair concessions.

This kind of support is more common than support granted after divorce. While there are permanent support arrangements available, per the discretion of the judge, most always the situation will be temporary, for a set amount of time, to be revisited later by the judge at the end of that period. Even when payments are permanent, it doesn't usually mean lifelong. It just means long-term.

In a few cases, the judge will order a lump sum alimony payment. However, for the most part, payments will be made on a monthly or biweekly arrangement.

There are a number of criteria that will impact whether you are granted spousal support. Some of the factors that the judge is going to consider include:

  • The length of your marriage;
  • Whether during the course of your marriage you worked in some capacity to support a spouse who was undergoing further educational or vocational training, for which they ultimately received more money;
  • Whether you served as a homemaker in the family for an extended period of time;
  • Your degree of financial need;
  • The age and health of both parties;
  • The needs of any dependent children you two share;
  • The ability of your ex to pay.

Keep in mind that support payments are generally taxable to the recipient and tax-deductible for the person paying. This could also affect how much you should request and for how long.

If you are interested in filing for alimony in Birmingham,, contact Family Law Attorney Steven Eversole at (866) 831-5292.

Additional Resources:

Is This the End of Alimony? June 27, 2013, By Cheryl Lock, Learnvest.com

About the Author

Steven D. Eversole

J.D., Samford University's Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham, Alabama B.A., University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

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