When couples in Alabama go through a divorce, one of the issues they will face is that of alimony. One spouse may truly believe they need support, but the other spouse may not be eager to make monthly payments to their ex. However, Alabama Code recognizes that some spouses need to be awarded rehabilitative or periodic alimony to preserve as much of their standard of living as possible. However, the court also doesn’t want to impose an undue financial hardship on the paying spouse.
To determine whether the spouse requesting alimony has a need for it, the court will consider several statutory factors. For example, the court will consider the spouse’s individual assets, as well as marital property awarded to that spouse. Any marital debts that spouse will be responsible for may also be considered, as will the spouse’s earning capacity. This includes any benefits that will help the spouse become gainfully employed. If the spouse has primary physical custody of the child and circumstances exist that necessitate having that spouse stay out of the workforce to care for the child, this may be considered. Finally, any other equitable factors may be considered.
In addition, in order to determine whether a spouse is able to pay alimony, there are other statutory factors that the court may consider. The court will consider all of that spouse’s individual assets, minus those used per federal law to pay alimony. The amount of marital property and marital debt that spouse incurs in the property division process will be considered. The spouse’s net income is another factor the court will consider, as will their earning capacity. If that spouse has primary physical custody of a child and circumstances exist that necessitate having that spouse stay out of the workforce to care for the child, this factor may also be considered. Finally, any other equitable factors may be considered.
As this shows, many of the factors that will be considered when determining whether a spouse should be awarded alimony are the same as those that will be used when determining whether the paying spouse can afford paying alimony. Awards of alimony must be fair to both spouses, so it is important that all necessary factors are considered for an appropriate result to be reached. Family law professionals can be consulted in such cases.