Alimony is often a contentious issue after a divorce, especially if the breakup was less than friendly. However, alimony laws are in place to help ensure that people are supported even after they are no longer married. If you’re facing a divorce in Alabama, then you might be wondering what you can expect to pay in alimony—and for how long.

Who is Entitled to Alimony in Alabama?

Regardless of how long a couple is married in Alabama, the lower-earning spouse might be entitled to alimony. However, spousal support is more typical when the couple has been married for at least several years before their divorce. The higher-earning spouse must also be able to pay without hardship.

A person might be awarded less alimony than they would normally get if the higher-earning spouse is seeking a “fault” divorce. Fault divorce, unlike “no-fault” divorce, involves the conduct of the spouses and can affect the divorce settlement. The division of property in a divorce can also affect alimony eligibility.

What Are the Different Types of Alimony?

“Interim” alimony is awarded to support a lower-earning spouse during the divorce proceedings. If it takes the court a while to award interim alimony, it can be retroactive.

“Rehabilitative” alimony is the most common type of alimony. This simply means that alimony payments are intended to help lower-earning spouses support themselves after divorce until they are able to find another source of support, whether through employment or another marriage. Therefore, the time limit on these payments is intended to encourage alimony recipients to create another source of income.

Periodic alimony is paid when the dependent spouse has been unable to support themselves, despite serious effort. In these cases, payments might continue longer than normal.

How Long Will You Pay Alimony?

If you are getting a divorce in Alabama and you think you might have to pay alimony, then you might be wondering how long you’ll have to provide support to your ex.

Generally, rehabilitative alimony payments in Alabama are limited to five years or less, although state law does allow for exceptions. Periodic alimony can last longer than five years. However, it will typically not last longer than the marriage itself.

All alimony payments must be terminated if the recipient gets remarried or is living with a partner with whom they have a serious relationship.

How is Alimony Decided?

Divorces can be expensive, especially if you’ll be expected to pay alimony. Generally, it’s best to try finding common ground with your soon-to-be ex-spouse if you can, deciding on the terms of your divorce through mediation. However, some divorces become very heated and contentious, and matters like alimony might be decided in the courtroom.

Regardless of the circumstances, you will want the help of an experienced divorce attorney to guide you through the process. Our Birmingham, AL law office focuses solely on family law. To discuss your case with our experienced and compassionate attorneys, call our office at (205) 858-9224 today.