Answers to Your Alabama Alimony Questions

Answers to Your Alabama Alimony Questions

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.

Divorce: Expectations From Start to Finish

Divorce: Expectations From Start to Finish

A divorce might be the hardest thing you will ever go through. We would like to share some of the things we’ve seen and heard from our experiences. Oftentimes, there are many expectations around divorce, and we will assist you from start to finish. We want you to understand everything about your situation so that you are aware and better prepared.

Residency Requirements

First, there are some residency requirements within the state of Alabama that must be met before applying.

If both parties are residents in Alabama, a divorce can be filed at any time. If the main party filing for the divorce is a resident of Alabama and the other spouse lives in another state, the main party must have been a resident in Alabama for over six months before applying.

Contested vs. Uncontested

If the spouse agrees to the divorce and signs the agreement paperwork stating that they agree to all of the terms, this is known as an ‘uncontested divorce.’ In an uncontested divorce, nothing is filed with the Court until both parties have signed the agreement and other required paperwork.

If the spouse refuses to sign an agreement, that is known as a ‘contested divorce.’ A contested divorce begins by filing a Complaint for Divorce and having the opposing party personally served.  Your case will then eventually be set for trial, but the majority of cases still settled out of court without a trial, even if they start out as contested.

If you have a trial, both parties present their evidence, and the Judge makes a decision about all issues in the case. You can check out more information on uncontested divorce and contested divorce here.

Issues to be Addressed in a Divorce

Last, if there are assets involved such as properties or other finances, out-of-court meetings may be necessary to resolve these or, if needed, in-court hearings or trial. This also goes for custody and visitation of mutual children, child support, and spousal support, if applicable.

We here at Herlihy Family Law are dedicated to making divorces as smooth and painless as possible. From child support, child custody contested divorces, and uncontested divorces we are with you every step of the way. Divorces can be easy. Contact us now by phone or email to book an appointment and start your divorce process sooner rather than later.

New 5 Star Client Review on Google

We just received this new 5 star client review on Google:

I went through a long and difficult contested divorce with no minor children. Alison and her team were so good at advising me throughout the process. They were patient and understanding with any issue I had. If I had questions or concerns, Alison was able to answer and put me at ease. She has a gift for being the right balance of firm and compassionate. In preparing for trial, she was knowledgeable, skilled and thorough. I would recommend her and her team to anyone for any area of family law.

Divorce: A New Year’s Resolution?

Divorce: A New Year’s Resolution?

January is traditionally a time for new beginnings. Many people set New Year’s Resolutions for themselves, and they begin to turn over new leaves in their lives. During these new beginnings, January is also the time we see the most new divorce filings. If you have been contemplating the idea of divorcing your significant other, but excuses keep standing in your way, then this is the year that you need to let go and move on. Facing fears of moving on can be scary, but it is also the first step of becoming who you will be once the divorce has been finalized and you have moved forward in your life. Below are a few good reasons why it is beneficial to file for divorce at the beginning of the new year:

1. Re-discovering yourself on your own is liberating!

If the new year is a great time to get healthier, get out of debt, or plan to travel more, it is also a good time to open a whole new chapter in your life. If the thought of being alone has scared you and kept you from filing for divorce in the past, then you have been letting fear control your future. As anyone who has been in an unhappy relationship knows, it is often much lonelier to be with someone who doesn’t “get” you anymore than it is to be single. It is time to change! When you decide to move forward with divorce proceedings and suddenly find yourself single for the first time in a while, you find new interests, friends and hobbies that you neglected to pursue in your past relationship. By doing this, you will begin to discover that piece of yourself that has been missing.

2. The longer you stay, the more you could pay.

Deciding whether or not you should file for divorce from your spouse is undoubtedly a decision that deserves very careful thought. However, there comes a time when a decision must be made. If you know it is over, don’t let fear keep you in a bad relationship. Also, the more time that you spend with your spouse, the more money is accrued in your marital accounts and the more you risk losing when it comes time to settle your finances. So while you should never rush the decision, try to remember that the more time you spend in undecided self-reflection, the more money you may be putting on the line in the long run.

3. You know what your income picture looks like.

In January of each year, you know what your prior full-year of income, expenses, and debts looks like. This is especially important if you have income that fluctuates due to self-employment, overtime, commissions, rents, and other streams of income. In addition, you may have your year-end bonus in the bank waiting to help you hire an attorney, move out and move on.

4. Removing toxic people from your life opens new doors.

If your marriage is unsupportive, abusive, unfulfilling or just plain unhappy, staying in the relationship is bound to give you self-respect issues. Many believe that after a while that lack of passion is inevitable and that you are not worthy of affection and love. But that is wrong! You deserve to be in a relationship that is uplifting and positive, receiving encouragement and love from your partner. Once you decide to leave your spouse, you will feel hopeful, lighter and ready for all the new adventure that life has in store for you.

5. It’s a great time to plan for the future.

You may have just experienced your last Thanksgiving and Christmas as a family. January is a great time to think about new traditions. Also, January is the perfect time to plan your financial future – who will pay the Visa card? Will I keep the house or get a new place? Who will get the mortgage interest deduction? What access to funds will I have to start over? Should I take this as an opportunity to further my education? Should I change careers or stick with my current path? What custody, visitation or parenting time arrangements work best for our family? The longer into each year that you wait to make these kinds of decisions makes them that much harder.

There is absolutely no better time than now to begin a new life and a new you. So, if you have been weighing your options and know that you have a second chance during this new year, it is time to use these helpful tips and start becoming the new you!

What is Mediation?

What is Mediation?

When it comes to getting a divorce not everything has to be a knock-down, drawn-out affair for both parties. Divorce mediation can help avoid court and resolve numerous questions. Mediation is one of the most frequently used methods of alternative dispute resolution when it comes to negotiating a divorce settlement.

Here are a few facts about Mediation that will help answer common questions about the process.

What is Mediation? Mediation is used to settle disputes when two parties are unable to agree or settle a disagreement. It is not binding unless an agreement is reached.

What is a mediator? In mediation, several people will be present such as, the parties, their attorneys, and the mediator. A mediator is a neutral party that is specially trained to help the parties create a fair and reasonable divorce agreement. The goal for every mediator is to reach an agreement that both parties are happy with, or that they can at least live with.

What is discussed in Mediation? Several divorce matters are discussed while in mediation. You and your soon to be ex-spouse need to decide more than a few important issues. The most common issues that are discussed are: distribution of property/assets/liabilities, child custody, child support, retirement, taxes, and more.

How long does mediation take? The length of mediation can vary on what issues have to be agreed upon. Also, the length of time spent in mediation can be determined by you and your spouse’s willingness to cooperate and come up with an agreement. Divorce mediation can be completed in as little as a couple of hours to an entire day.

What happens after Mediation? Depending on if both parties have come to an agreement or not will determine what will happen after mediation. In most cases, mediation results in the parties leaving with a written and signed agreement. The agreement will lay out every detail that the parties agreed on. The agreement is then filed in the Court and will be ratified by a Judge.