Earning Potential In Alimony Determinations

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When dividing marital property between divorcing spouses, courts in the state of Alabama strive to divide property between the couple in an equitable manner. Equitable is a term that means courts will divide property in a manner that is fair rather than equal. When a court in Alabama determines how to divide a couple's marital property, courts frequently analyze the future earnings of each spouse. To make sure that a court fully appreciates the value that a spouse added to a marriage, couples frequently turn to the services of a skilled Birmingham divorce attorney. Individuals also frequently benefit from knowing the basic elements concerning how a court in Alabama treats a divorcing couple's earning potential.

Factors That Determine Earning Capacity

There are several factors that courts in Alabama will analyze when determining a spouse's earning capacity.

  • Age. Courts in Alabama might determine that individuals who are older in age might have a more difficult time establishing themselves financially after a divorce.
  • Earning Potential. An individual's education is also analyzed by a court when determining a spouse's earning potential. If an individual has a high level of education then that individual is likely to be able to find a good job, but if a person has a low level of education then courts might award that an individual alimony.
  • Job Experience. Courts will determine how much job experience an individual has. Individuals with a substantial job history are likely to have an easier time find employment than individuals who without strong job experience.

The Role Of Imputed Income

While courts in the state of Alabama tend to begin alimony determination by comparing the income of spouses, courts frequently consider potential income for spouses who are not directly receiving income when the situation warrants. Some of the situations where courts will impute income include when one spouse is deliberately unemployed or underemployed in an effort to lower support payments.

The Value Of A Homemaker

When performing property division, courts frequently consider the contribution that a spouse who maintained a home provided to the earning capacity of the other spouse. In analyzing earning capacity, courts might determine that the benefited spouse's earning capacity is a marital assets and provides compensation to a spouse who support the family.

Spousal Support

While not directly part of property division, spousal support is often used by courts in the state of Alabama to account for one spouse's earning capacity. If a spouse remained at home to take care of the home and resultantly had to place a career on pause, a court is likely to award spousal support as a means to help a spouse rejoin the workforce. In some situations, divorce courts in the state of Alabama may even award longer lasting support orders to account for individuals whose earning capacity was lowered for a longer period as a result of divorce. In situations where both spouses are young and work, a court in Alabama might decide not to award any alimony.

Reasons To Contact A Birmingham Attorney


If you are involved in a divorce, it is a wise idea to contact a seasoned Birmingham divorce attorney who knows how to demonstrate to a court the exact value of an individual's earning capacity during a marriage.

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Birmingham, Jefferson County including Bessemer, Homewood, Hoover, Irondale, Leeds, Mountain Brook, Trussville, and Vestavia Hills, Shelby County (including Pelham, Alabaster, Chelsea, Calera), Tuscaloosa, Auburn, Huntsville, Calhoun County including Anniston, Etowah County including Boaz and Gadsden, Cullman County including Arab and Cullman, Madison County including Huntsville and Madison, Montgomery County including Montgomery, and all of Alabama.

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