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Alabama Alimony And Spousal Support

Under certain circumstances, either the husband or the wife may be entitled to alimony in Alabama. There are several types of alimony or spousal support that an Alabama court can order. Each type of alimony is intended to serve a different purpose. An Alabama court can award more than one type of alimony in the same divorce case if the circumstances of the case support it. With longer marriages, the chance that the court will order permanent alimony increases. Even in shorter marriages, the court can award temporary spousal support. An experienced Alabama divorce attorney can advise you regarding any alimony and spousal support issues. The longer the length of the marriage and the greater the monthly income of either spouse, the more your need for legal advice increases. The Burleson Firm, located in Birmingham, Alabama, can answer your alimony and spousal support questions. Our law firm can assist you in obtaining a divorce in any county in the state.

Types of alimony and spousal support


With this type of alimony, an Alabama court makes an order of spousal support during the divorce only. The purpose of temporary spousal support is to help make sure that both parties have adequate financial resources while the divorce is ongoing. It gives the spouse with the lowest income time to budget, plan and prepare for living on their own. An award of temporary spousal support does not mean that the spouse will receive alimony in the final judgment of divorce.


Alabama courts order one spouse to pay this type of spousal support to the other spouse at regular intervals (e.g. monthly). The purpose of periodic alimony is to provide for the support and maintenance of the less wealthy spouse. Periodic alimony is taxable to the spouse who receives it and the paying spouse may count this spousal support as a tax deduction. There is more than one type of periodic alimony.

Rehabilitative This type of periodic alimony is usually ordered for a short period of time. The purpose of this spousal support is to rehabilitate the earning potential of the receiving spouse. Rehabilitative alimony allows the less financially stable spouse to become self-supporting. For example, Alabama courts often order this type of spousal support to help a party who is attending school. The alimony gives the spouse an opportunity to earn a degree that will enable the spouse to become self-supporting and ends after the ordered rehabilitative period.

Permanent This type of periodic alimony is ordered for the life of the receiving spouse, with certain exceptions. An Alabama court can modify this type of spousal support if circumstances change. Permanent alimony can be terminated early if the spouse remarries or cohabitates with a member of the opposite sex. In determining whether permanent periodic alimony should be awarded, an Alabama court first looks at the length of the marriage. This type of spousal support is normally ordered only in longer marriages. The courts decide this issue based on the specific facts and circumstances of each marriage. However, as a rule of thumb, Alabama courts do not usually award permanent alimony for marriages under ten years long, unless there is a compelling reason to do so. The courts normally do award permanent alimony for marriages that are longer than twenty years unless there is a compelling reason not to order it. For marriages between ten and twenty years in length, there is not a strong presumption either way. However, permanent spousal support is frequently awarded in these marriages, depending on the facts and circumstances of each divorce. After considering the length of the marriage, an Alabama court will also consider other factors. These factors include the parties’ ages, educational backgrounds, work experience, and health. The Alabama judge will also evaluate the parties’ standard of living during the marriage and their abilities to maintain that standard after the divorce. The court will look at the degree of fault of both parties and even their property interests. The issue of permanent alimony can also be reserved by an Alabama court in the Final Judgment and determined at a later date. An experienced Alabama divorce attorney can help determine if this type of spousal support is a possibility in your divorce.

Alimony in gross

A specific amount to be paid at a certain time, the purpose of alimony in gross is to constitute a property settlement, rather than to provide support. For example, alimony in gross may be used to compensate a spouse for his or her interest in a business so as to avoid liquidation of the business. This type is not taxable to the receiving spouse or deductible by the paying spouse. The total amount of alimony in gross cannot be modified once ordered.

Contact The Burleson Firm

From a central location in Birmingham, Alabama, The Burleson Firm has helped families in Alabama with divorce issues for over twenty years. If you are thinking about filing for divorce or you believe that your spouse may be planning to do so, you need legal advice on how to better protect your interests. Let The Burleson Firm schedule a no-obligation conference with a serious Alabama family law attorney to educate you on alimony and spousal support issues. Our law firm can assist you in obtaining a divorce in any county in Alabama.

For a free phone consultation, call us at 1 (205) 795-2033.



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