Alimony Attorney in Auburn
Few divorce topics are as controversial and highly disputed as alimony. Terms and laws vary across states, with most states using the term “alimony” or “spousal support.” There are a number of circumstances under which alimony is granted by the court, but to know whether or not alimony will be awarded in your case, you have to have your own attorney.
As you navigate divorce and the challenges it brings, let us help—you do not have to face this alone. Call Haygood, Cleveland, Pierce, Thompson & Short at 334-821-3892 to set up a consultation.
Types of Alimony in Alabama
Alabama courts award several types of alimony, depending on where you are in the divorce process, how long you have been married, and additional circumstances that may affect your divorce.
Interim alimony is one option. This is awarded between the time that divorce papers are filed and when the divorce is granted. During this time, the spouse who needs financial support still needs to pay their bills and meet their other obligations, so they cannot wait for a final divorce order granting alimony. Interim support grants them alimony until they can work out a longer-term post-divorce agreement.
Periodic alimony is the most common type of spousal support. It is typically paid out weekly, biweekly, or monthly from the higher earning spouse to the lower earning spouse. In Alabama, periodic alimony can only be paid for a period of up to five years.
Periodic alimony is rehabilitative in nature, which means that it is not a permanent solution. It is simply meant to give the lower earning spouse time to get the training, education, or experience needed to support themselves financially. In some situations, the course can award rehabilitative support for a period longer than five years.
Permanent alimony is increasingly rare, both in Alabama and across the United States. Rather than forcing one ex-spouse to support the other for the rest of their lives, the focus is now on helping the dependent spouse gain their financial independence. However, some situations do warrant permanent spousal support. For example, if the dependent spouse is too ill to ever support themselves, is too old to learn a new career path or re-enter the workforce, or otherwise requires permanent support.
Who Can Receive Alimony?
If a divorce case is decided by the court, the dependent spouse must demonstrate that they are truly financially dependent on the other and that the other party is capable of paying alimony. The court uses a number of tools to decide these issues. They may look at the division of marital assets and the presence of separate assets.
For example, if one spouse is financially dependent on the other but has $200,000 in separate assets, it is unlikely that they will receive any meaningful financial support. Similarly, if the marital assets are divided in a way that accounts for disparities in income, alimony may be off the table.
Factors considered while deciding alimony issues include:
- Each party’s income and realistic earning ability
- Fault in the divorce (for example, if the dependent spouse was unfaithful, the court may not look upon them favorably when awarding alimony)
- If one party gave up career or education opportunities to support the other’s career or the family as a whole
- Both spouses’ age and health
- The standard of living enjoyed by the parties during the marriage
How Alimony Can Be Modified or Terminated
Under Alabama law, alimony can be modified or terminated. Spousal support is often terminated when the party receiving alimony remarries, becomes gainfully employed, or has a sudden change in financial status. These same situations may also call for a modification in alimony. If the receiving party becomes gainfully employed but still doesn’t earn enough to maintain their lifestyle, alimony may be decreased but not completely terminated.
Alimony may also be modified if the paying party has a significant change in financial status. The paying spouse may no longer have to pay or may have to pay less if their income suddenly drops, they lose their job, or their health worsens so much that they need more money to pay for their own medical care.
Why You Need an Attorney for Your Alimony Case
Whether you are attempting to claim alimony or you believe you may be ordered to pay alimony, you must have a family law attorney working on your behalf. In many cases, alimony is agreed upon by both parties before it reaches a judge. This allows both parties to maintain some control over the negotiation process, rather than give up their freedom and future to the court.
Without an attorney, you will struggle to protect your best interests during negotiations. What you agree to could change your financial future for the next five years, so you must make sure that your agreement benefits you. Attorneys are very good at convincing people that their way is the right way.
If you come to the negotiating table without your own lawyer, your ex-partner’s attorney could sweet talk you into an alimony amount that represents their client’s best interests—not yours. They may tell you that what they are agreeing to is much better than you would get from any other attorney, and that continuing to negotiate will only backfire. Before you know it, you’ve signed on for five years of unfair treatment.
When you work with the team at Haygood, Cleveland, Pierce, Thompson & Short, you can feel confident that our only priority is your best interests. We know how important alimony issues are and that you deserve to start your new life on solid financial footing. If your ex-partner wants to play hardball, we are more than ready to fight aggressively to protect your rights.
Choose Us for Your Family Law Needs
Whether you are starting the divorce process or you are looking into a modification of an alimony order, don’t take on the court alone. The team at Haygood, Cleveland, Pierce, Thompson & Short will be with you every step of the way. Get started now by contacting us online or calling us at 334-821-3892.