Spousal support is generally known as alimony in the state of Alabama. Because so many women have joined the workforce over the past few decades, spousal support is less common than it once was. You might be surprised to find that alimony has never been as common as we tend to think. According to Reuters, in the 1960s, awards of alimony occurred in about one-fourth of all divorces. Today, that number is a bit below ten percent, with some states having even lower numbers. There are times when alimony is appropriate. As an example, when one spouse has given up educational or career opportunities in order to support the other spouse or worked for many years to help the other spouse gain a professional degree, alimony is warranted. Periodic alimony in Alabama is generally reserved for situations like those, or in long-term marriages where it would be unrealistic for the lower-earning spouse to begin a career due to their age or health. Rehabilitative alimony can be awarded for up to five years and is meant to help the lower-earning spouse get back on their feet, so to speak, giving them time to engage in education, training, or skill-building. Interim alimony helps keep the lower-earning spouse above water financially while the divorce is in process. While marital misconduct rarely has an impact on the award of alimony, there are exceptions. If the higher-earning spouse spent a considerable amount of marital funds on an affair, drugs, or alcohol, the judge may be more likely to award alimony to the lower-earning spouse. If the lower-earning spouse who is seeking alimony was unfaithful, the judge may think twice about awarding alimony.
Alimony modifications may be necessary when the circumstances of either party experience a significant change. If the receiving spouse is cohabitating with another adult, the paying spouse may petition to have the alimony stopped. If the paying spouse has suffered a serious illness, injury, or disability, or has retired, he or she may petition the court to lower the amount of the alimony payments or stop them altogether. Perhaps the paying spouse has found out that the receiving spouse won a large sum of money playing the lottery. Because this would improve the receiving spouse’s finances considerably, the paying spouse might petition to reduce or stop alimony payments.