In recent years, many states have reformed alimony (often called spousal maintenance or spousal support). Alimony often financially tied spouses together for the rest of their lives. While it still happens, Alabama laws show how some state try to move on to an eventual, permanent split.

Three types of Alabama alimony

An Alabama spouse can ask for “interim support” paid only until the divorce is finalized. The judge considers the request based on the need shown by the requesting person and the ability of the other spouse to pay.

A judge might award “periodic alimony,” but the law limits the possibilities. One spouse gets regular alimony payments until they can support themselves. Especially when one spouse forgoes a career to raise the family, finding a job may take time.

If necessary, the support can last 5 years, after which the spouse must prove good reasons for an extension. The time the marriage lasted is also the total time limit for support.

Finally, “permanent alimony” is possible only if the couple has been married more than 20 years, and only then if the requesting spouse can offer proof that permanent support is necessary due to, for example, a disability.

Looking beyond the basics of alimony

The scheme laid out above is not the only story that can unfold during divorce. Other outcomes are possible in some cases, for example in a high-asset divorce through the asset allocation process. The court has the power to consider and thoroughly investigate the couple’s true financial situations as a whole.

Given the discretion available to the judge, the willingness of one or both spouses to consider creative alternatives and the skills and experience of counsel, the court will sometimes consider the post-divorce financial picture more broadly.