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What factors will a judge consider when awarding alimony?

You worked hard to climb the corporate ladder while married and enjoyed the well-earned fruits of your labor. Sadly, while you saw significant financial success over the years your marriage was not as successful, and you and your spouse decided to divorce. Your spouse earns significantly less than you and now that you are facing divorce you are also facing the touchy subject of alimony.

When will a court award alimony?

Alabama recognizes rehabilitative alimony and periodic alimony. However, alimony will only be granted in certain circumstances. First, the receiving spouse must lack a separate estate or the estate they do have must not be enough for them to enjoy the standard of living they had while married. Second, the receiving spouse must not have the ability to provide for themselves without enduring undue economic hardship. Third, awarding rehabilitative alimony or periodic alimony must be equitable.

When is a spouse’s separate estate enough?

Alabama law lists certain factors the court considers when deciding whether the receiving spouse’s separate estate is enough to allow them to enjoy the standard of living they had while married, to the extent possible. Some of these factors include:

  • The receiving spouse’s individual assets
  • Marital assets awarded to the receiving spouse
  • Marital debts assigned to the receiving spouse
  • The receiving spouse’s ability to earn a wage given their age, health, level of education and prior work experience
  • Whether the receiving spouse has primary physical custody of a child and the child’s needs make working outside the home inappropriate

These are only some factors the court considers when awarding alimony — there are others.

Alimony is a sensitive topic in a high-income divorce

Ultimately, high-income couples will find alimony to be a highly sensitive topic that, absent a prenuptial agreement, must be addressed in a divorce. Neither spouse wants to be put in a position where they are paying too much in alimony or not receiving enough in alimony. Fortunately, Alabama law provides guidance on how courts will decide when alimony should be awarded and whether it should be rehabilitative or periodic.



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