The alimony laws governing spousal support in Alabama is different from what is obtainable in other states. Read further to grasp the peculiarity of the AL alimony law.
Also referred to as “spousal support” or “spousal maintenance” in Yellowhammer State, alimony is the series of payments made by one spouse (the payor spouse) to another (the supported or payee spouse) after the divorce.
Before the alimony payments commence, there has to be a written order or agreement which requires the payor to support the payee with a stipulated amount of money.
This agreement eliminates any disputes in the future about why the payment was made or when it’s not made.
All 50 states in America are alimony states, meaning states that have enacted laws permitting a spouse who cannot work full time or with a lower income to request payments from the other spouse to support themselves after a divorce.
Type of Alimony Laws Practiced in AL
Alabama’s Governor signed HB 257, which establishes new alimony guidelines, into law on April 13, 2017. In the past, the court might grant interim, periodic, or permanent assistance to parties in divorce cases.
The court can still grant permanent—or, forever—support under the new statute, but only if the case fits tight criteria. (Alabama House Bill 257.)
Interim Support (Temporary Spousal Support) in Alabama
Interim support is a one-time type of support that offers financial help while the divorce is pending. To be eligible for temporary support from a spouse, the petitioning party must show that there is a need for support, that the other party is capable of providing it, and that the marriage is genuine.
The court may make the temporary award retroactive to the date of the divorce filing because the request for interim alimony takes time. When the court issues a final order, temporary support comes to an end.
Periodic alimony is when one partner pays the other a fixed sum of money on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis for a specified period of time.
The most prevalent type of periodic alimony is “rehabilitative support,” which is a payment made to the lower-earning spouse until that spouse obtains the necessary job training, education, or skills to enter the workforce and become self-sufficient.
Rehabilitative alimony, which is now limited to a maximum of 5 years for the recipient, is one of the most important modifications to Alabama’s support rules in Alabama.
The exception to the new regulation is if the court determines that rehabilitation is impossible or that there are other compelling reasons to depart from the 5-year guideline. A judge may grant assistance up to the length of the divorcing couple’s marriage if the court decides to differ.
Permanent Alimony Laws and Guidelines in AL
Permanent alimony was originally prevalent in Alabama, but it is being phased out by more and more courts in AL. Permanent alimony is still a possibility for some couples, especially in cases where one spouse has a permanent disability or is very old to start work and become self-sufficient.
Although Alabama’s new law limits alimony to 5 years, there is an exception for couples who have been married for more than 20 years. In some instances, the court can grant perpetual alimony if a party can show the court the need for this type of support.
Who Pays Alimony in Alabama?
In Alabama alimony law, the spouse that makes most of the money will share that income with the other spouse. The idea behind who pays for alimony is to considerably level up the living standard of the dependent spouse to what it was while the marriage was on.
Regarding the sex that pays, alimony in Yellowhammer State is gender-neutral, meaning either spouse can request support from the other. As long as the alimony can be provided to the requesting spouse, then it will most likely be granted.
So a husband can receive alimony from a wife in Alabama if the above conditions are met.
How Long Does Spousal Support Last in AL?
The duration to pay alimony in Alabama can differ depending on the individual judge and circumstances. However, you should expect to pay spousal support for a duration of 80-70% of the length of the marriage lasted. So assuming you were married for 10 years, the spousal support duration will most likely be between 6 to 7 years.
As provided by the alimony laws of AL, rehabilitative and permanent support stops if either spouse dies or the supported spouse remarries.
How to Collect Spousal Support Arrears in Alabama
When it comes to collecting spousal support in Alabama, you have a few choices if your ex-spouse has failed to make alimony payments as ordered by the court. Debts for spousal support are frequently given priority among debtors under US law.
Average Alimony Payment in Alabama
The average amount payable as spousal support in Alabama after divorce is determined by various factors. But the major factor you have to understand is “the standard of living of the marriage.”
To determine the final amounts for rehabilitative and permanent support in AL, the courts in AL take into consideration the income of the spouses, plus other factors like:
- earning capacity of each spouse.
- the ability of the paying spouse to pay, considering assets, the standard of living, earning capacity, as well as earned and unearned income.
- the extent of contribution the supported spouse gave to the other’s educational pursuit or professional license during the marriage
- how long the marriage lasted
- the needs of each spouse
- the assets and debts of each spouse including separate property
- each party’s tax consequences
- the ability of the supported spouse to gain employment without interfering with their children’s care
- each spouse’s health and age
- each party’s balance of hardships
- whether there is a documented history of domestic violence against the children or either party
- will the dependent spouse be self-supporting within a reasonable period
- any criminal conviction of an abusive spouse
- any other factors which the court wishes to consider
This is the main measure the court uses to determine the amount to be paid in Yellowhammer State. The principle behind the standard of living of the marriage is that after the marriage breakup, both spouses should continue living within the same standard they lived while the marriage lasted.
How Alimony is Calculated in AL
The amount to be paid as spousal support in Alabama is calculated after considering the above-stated factors. Whichever option is adopted it is reflected in the Alimony Calculator
Importance of Using a Skilled Alabama Spousal Support Attorney
If you’re getting a divorce in Alabama and need to negotiate or re-negotiate spousal support, you’ve definitely got a lot of questions and want to seek competent legal guidance. Though state Supreme Courts have supported lifetime spousal support,
your circumstances may or may not fulfill the requirements. AL courts may judge your case differently based on the merits of you and your previous spouse. There are so many variables to consider.
If you want to get spousal support for the rest of your life or if you want to fight against it in Alabama, an expert divorce lawyer can help. Depending on the objective and the desire of the adversary attorney to bargain in good faith, you’ll need
attorneys that are both empathetic and strong.
For the convenience of our members, we have an up-to-date directory of AL divorce and spousal support attorneys who can help with a variety of issues. For legal advice and representation on spousal support that is powerful and well-informed.
FAQ About Alabama Alimony Laws
Here are Frequently Asked Questions about spousal support laws in AL:
Can a Husband get Alimony in AL?
Who Qualifies for Alimony in Alabama?
Just as either spouse can pay or receive, the party that qualifies to receive spousal support is the dependent party while the marriage lasted. This means that in AL, the spouse that had lesser or no income when the marriage was on is also the one qualified to receive alimony. Click here for details
How Long do you have to be Married to get Alimony in AL?
To understand how long alimony lasts in Alabama, you have to take into consideration how long the marriage lasted.
However, bear in mind that there is no limit to the duration you can pay or receive alimony for marriages that lasted 10-20 years or more. Any marriage that lasted below 20 years will not pay nor receive alimony that exceeds 50% of the duration of the marriage.
Is Alimony Tax Deductible in Alabama?
Following the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which altered the link between alimony and taxes dramatically in Alabama and all over the US, alimony payments are no longer tax deductible for the payer and are no longer recognized as income for the recipient spouse as of January 1, 2019.
Is Alimony Mandatory in Yellowhammer State?
Alimony is mandatory in Alabama as long as one of the spouses earns or owns assets that can be relied upon to support the other spouse after the marriage breaks down.
Can Alimony be increased in Alabama?
Alimony amount or duration can be increased or decreased due to changes in the financial circumstances of the parties in different ways, including:
- an increase or decrease in the income of the alimony recipient
- if it’s determined that the original alimony awarded is inadequate
- loss to the alimony recipient’s financial assets
- an increase in the justified expenses of the alimony recipient
- when the financial condition of the receiving spouse fails to improve as originally expected
Can you go to Jail for Not Paying Spousal Support in AL?
Technically, you will not be jailed for not paying alimony in Alabama. While there are varying consequences for not paying alimony, you can still end up in jail as a result. Here is how.
If it’s an Alabama court-ordered spousal support that you refuse to pay, it means you are in violation of a court order meaning you can be prosecuted for being in contempt of court if contempt proceedings are brought up against you. This could attract a jail term in AL}.
How to Modify Spousal Support in AL?
When necessary, Alabama law allows for a spousal support modification. When it comes to alimony, courts in AL usually try to do their best to create judgments that are fair and effective in the long run. Nevertheless, conditions change over time, and these changes may compel a revision or modification of the initial order.
When filing for a spousal support modification in Alabama, keep in mind that the courts will only entertain the motion if there has been a significant and long-term change in circumstances. A brief problem is unlikely to be significant enough to warrant a revision in the initial alimony ruling. Likewise, dissatisfaction with the support order is not a valid reason for a revision in AL.
The following are some of the most common reasons for requesting an alimony modification in Alabama
- Changes in income or employment
- Birth of a new child
- Health changes, including disability
- A new dependent
How to Avoid or Stop Paying Spousal Support in AL
In Yellowhammer State, the spouse paying the alimony can successfully avoid or stop the alimony payment if he/she is able to prove any or all of the following points:
- that the dependent spouse is guilty of infidelity
- the spouse proves that he has no source of income
- the spouse remarries and has to take care of the new spouse however, he/she will continue paying the child support for children if any
- if the spouse is disabled and unable to earn a living
- Alabama Child Adoption Guidelines
- Alabama Childcare Guidelines
- Alabama Child Custody and Visitation Guidelines
- Alabama Child Support Guidelines
- Alabama Divorce Guidelines
- Alabama Marital Property Guidelines
- Alabama Spousal Support Guidelines
- How to Check Alabama Child Support Payment History
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