Spencer Wright Law Firm, LLC

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Alimony

Our North Alabama Family lawyers will help you determine what's fair and what's not. 

Alimony has become a taboo subject and frequent jab by comedians. But the true purpose of alimony is not about blame or guilt.

 

It is about fairness and transition from marriage. Alimony payments are to ensure that one spouse is capable of maintaining a lifestyle commensurate with what existed before the divorce.

Factors that Matter

The court may issue an order for payment of alimony to either party when deemed just and proper. The party seeking alimony bears the burden of proof that an award of alimony is warranted. In determining whether to award alimony the court will consider the following factors: 

 

1) Financial structure and Source(s) of Common Property

  • Financial abilities and the earning potential of parties clearly dictate and set a financial parameter as to which party would be better suited to contribute toward the other.

2) Secure employment

  • Time needed for alimony receiving party to secure employment and self-sufficiency would determine the amount if not the duration of alimony payments.

3) Standard of living during the Marriage

  • Parties standard of living during the marriage is an important consideration because the court will be seeking to legally restore parties to the financial position they were before the separation and to the extent possible.

4) Length of marriage

  • The length of marriage would dictate to a certain extent the duration and amount of alimony generally the longer the marriage the longer period for an award of alimony factoring in also the other relevant elements.

5) Conduct of the Parties

  • Separation causes and the contributory party is again a consideration with regards to alimony. The conduct of the parties regarding the cause of divorce which may include, abuse, neglect, abandonment, adultery, etc

6) Physical and emotional factors

  • Age, physical and emotional status, financial landscape, needs and liabilities of each party all would be considered by the court in awarding alimony as also discussed above in the distribution factors.

7) Ability to pay and financial resources

  • The Ability of the party paying alimony to meet his or her needs while meeting the needs of the party seeking alimony.  The court will consider other financial obligations and burden imposed on the party paying alimony to balance the interests involved.  Financial needs/resources of each party, including all sort of income, accumulated or otherwise

 

There is no mathematical calculation the Court is required to use in calculating alimony. 

Types of Alimony in Alabama

"There are two forms of alimony in Alabama, "periodic alimony" and "alimony in gross". 

 

"Periodic Alimony" is an ongoing payment for support of the former spouse.  Periodic alimony is subject to modification and can potentially be terminated depending upon the circumstances. 

"Alimony in Gross" is a finite payment intended to terminate a former spouse's property interests. "Alimony in Gross" payments may be a specific lump-sum amount or a specific amount paid in accordance with a payment plan for a set period of time. "Alimony in Gross" cannot be modified and is not subject to termination. 

 

It is vitally important that any Alabama Divorce Settlement Agreement or Alabama Divorce Decree with an alimony payment specifically designates whether the payment is "periodic alimony" or "alimony in gross". By ensuring this step is taken, both parties can avoid any potential problems with filing their state and federal taxes.