Are you wondering how you will pay the bills once your marriage is over? You might consider filing a request for alimony. Also known as spousal support or maintenance, it is often a source of conflict during divorce proceedings. However, it can be crucial to ensuring that you continue with your current lifestyle. 

Courts award alimony to ensure each party in a divorce will be able to pay for ordinary living expenses after the marriage has ended. Alabama’s spousal support laws have changed recently, so you may have questions. 

Can I get an alimony award? 

A judge may award alimony if you meet certain conditions after the division of marital assets. You must show that you were financially dependent upon your spouse during the marriage. Additionally, the courts must deem that your spouse is able to pay the ordered support. 

How much will it be? 

Amounts vary. Courts take many factors into consideration when making alimony decisions, including how long your marriage lasted and what led to the divorce. Your earning potential, and that of your spouse, can also influence the decision. Courts may consider your education, contributions to the household and employment history. 

What types of alimony exist? 

Sometimes, courts order alimony in one lump sum payment. More often, a judge will order a party to make monthly payments to the other party. The award may be temporary, to support you during the divorce proceedings. 

Periodic alimony extends beyond the divorce, often one to five years. A judge may award it if you need financial help while you become self-supporting. This is common if you stayed home to raise children while your spouse remained in the workforce. A judge may disregard the five-year guideline; alimony can last up to the length of the marriage. 

More extreme circumstances may call for permanent spousal support. If your marriage lasted longer than 20 years, and age or disability prevents you from starting a career that will lead to self-sufficiency, you may qualify for permanent support. Despite the courts calling it permanent, your alimony will likely end if you remarry.