If I get divorced, would I be able to get alimony? Could I have to PAY alimony? These are some of the most common questions we get from clients who are getting divorced.
The purpose of alimony is to maintain the lifestyle of a financially dependent spouse after a divorce. Alimony is based on both the dependent spouse’s need and the paying spouse’ ability to pay. If both you and your spouse are gainfully employed and self-supporting, then your case is not an alimony case.
There have been some big changes in Alabama’s alimony statute over the past few years. Our statute currently provides that, if alimony is appropriate, then rehabilitative alimony is strongly preferred after a divorce. Rehabilitative alimony lasts for a specific period of time after the divorce and is designed to help the financially dependent spouse get back on their feet so they can be self-supporting in the future. Our current law provides that rehabilitative alimony shall only be paid for up to five years following the divorce, absent exceptional circumstances.
If the court finds that rehabilitative alimony is not feasible or if the parties have been married for more than twenty years, then the Court can award periodic alimony, which is does not have a set termination date. If the parties are married less than twenty years, then the alimony cannot be of a longer duration than the length of the marriage.
The other big change regarding Alabama’s alimony law just became effective July 1, 2022. In years past, alimony has always terminated if the receiving spouse gets remarried or cohabitates with a member of the opposite sex. Now, the law provides that alimony terminates upon remarriage or cohabitation with any individual and defines cohabitation as:
two adults dwelling together continually and habitually in a private heterosexual or homosexual relationship, even if the relationship is not solemnized by marriage, evidenced by the voluntary mutual assumption of those marital rights, duties, and obligations that are usually manifested by married individuals, and which include, but are not necessarily dependent on, sexual relations.
Ala. Code 30-2-55 Termination of alimony upon remarriage or cohabitation (Code Of Alabama (2022 Edition)).
If you are already divorced, these recent changes could affect your receipt of or obligation to pay alimony. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss further.