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Birmingham Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Alimony > How Long Do You Need To Keep Paying Alimony After An Alabama Divorce?

How Long Do You Need To Keep Paying Alimony After An Alabama Divorce?


Whenever possible, Alabama divorce courts enable former spouses to make a clean break when separating their finances.  It is much easier to do this when the parties were only married to each other for a short time and when the value of their assets is modest.  Going your separate ways financially after a divorce is much harder after a long marriage, especially when one spouse depended on the other financially.  In these cases, it is not enough simply to divide the marital bank accounts and have one spouse buy out the other’s share of interest in the marital home.  The courts often order the higher income spouse to pay alimony to the lower income spouse for a set period of time.  There is no universal formula for calculating alimony like there is for calculating child support; it is whatever the court decides is fair.  A Birmingham alimony lawyer can help you avoid getting stuck with excessive alimony obligations.

Rehabilitative, Periodic, and Pendente Lite Alimony

Alabama law recognizes several different types of alimony.  These are the most common types:

  • Temporary alimony, also known as pendente lite alimony, is meant to cover the lower income spouse’s household expenses while the divorce case is pending. It always ends when the divorce becomes final, and only in some cases does the court replace it with a different alimony order.
  • Rehabilitative alimony is for spouses who are reentering the workforce after a long absence. It covers the period when the recipient is training for a new job, and sometimes it gets gradually lower as the recipient builds up work experience.  The maximum duration of rehabilitative alimony is five years.
  • Periodic alimony is the closest possible thing to no-strings-attached alimony. It cannot last longer than the marriage lasted.  The only exception is if the couple was married for more than 20 years; in this case, the court can order permanent alimony if the recipient spouse would be reduced to poverty without it.

Reasons for Terminating Your Alimony Obligations Early

Alimony obligations automatically end when one spouse dies; a deceased person’s estate cannot pay or receive alimony.  The obligations also end automatically if the recipient spouse remarries.  You can petition the court to reduce your alimony obligations or end them early if you undergo an unexpected reduction of income, such as if you get laid off from your job or you become unable to work because of ill health.  Even if your ex-spouse has not remarried, you can petition the court to terminate your alimony obligations early if your ex is in a financially supportive relationship with a new partner.  If your ex lives with the new partner, you usually have a strong case for ending your alimony obligations early.

Contact Peeples Law About Avoiding Excessive Alimony Obligations

A Birmingham family law attorney cannot rewrite history so that your ex-spouse never depended on you financially, but your lawyer can help you reach an agreement where the amount of alimony that you have to pay is not excessive.  Contact Peeples Law today to schedule a consultation.



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