How Does The Court Decide How Much Alimony You Get In Alabama?
Even though alimony has been a favorite source of material for standup comedians for decades, it is somewhat overhyped in the media. Most divorces do not involve alimony, and when the court awards one ex-spouse to pay alimony, it is usually only for a few years. In some cases where one spouse obviously needs alimony, the couple decides together how much is an appropriate amount. If they cannot agree on this, however, then alimony is often one of the most contentious aspects of the divorce. A Birmingham alimony lawyer can help you and your spouse agree on an alimony arrangement or, if necessary, persuade the court that you are entitled to alimony.
Stay-at-Home-Parents, Alimony, and Returning to the Workforce
Many cases where the court awards alimony involve families where one spouse left the workforce to care for the children full-time. Although this arrangement may have been by mutual agreement of the couple during the marriage, it is usually unsustainable after the divorce. This is especially true since a law went into effect that the court cannot order alimony to be paid for more than five years unless the marriage lasted 20 years or more. That means that, if you have young children, your only choice will probably be returning to the workforce in the near future. The court may decide the alimony amount based on your imputed income, that is, the amount you can expect to earn from your job; it is possible that you will still earn a lot less than your ex-spouse and therefore be entitled to alimony. If your children very young and you do not have family members nearby to take care of them while you are at work, the court may order your ex-spouse to contribute to the cost of daycare or may impute your income with the assumption that, until your children are old enough for school, you will only work on days when the children are with your ex-spouse.
Is There Permanent Alimony in Alabama?
Alabama law allows permanent alimony, but only in cases where the couple was married for 20 years or more; many other states use 17 years as the point at which a marriage becomes eligible for permanent alimony. Not every long marriage that ends in divorce results in an award of permanent alimony, only marriages where the financially disadvantaged spouse could not otherwise be financially independent. In practice, most recipients of permanent alimony are close to retirement age or are unable to return to the workforce because of a disability or chronic health problem.
Sometimes Alimony Begins Before a Divorce Is Final
One type of alimony in Alabama is called pendente lite alimony, which is money that the wealthier spouse pays to the financially disadvantaged spouse while the divorce is going on. Its purpose is to keep the household bills paid until the couple can agree, or the court can rule, on how to divide their property. It automatically ends when the divorce becomes final, at which point it may or may not be replaced with a different alimony order.
Contact Peeples Law About Alimony Disputes
The thought of continuing to be financially entangled with your ex-spouse after divorce is stressful, but a Birmingham family law attorney can help you find a practical resolution to your alimony dispute. Contact Peeples Law today to schedule a consultation.