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Alimony awards change along with society

As many are aware, the Alabama workforce has changed dramatically from decades ago. Women, in particular, are no longer confined to staying at home. It should be no surprise then that when married couples get divorced, women are increasingly being ordered to pay spousal support.

Spousal support, or alimony, is ordered to alleviate any economic unfairness after a couple divorces. For instance, if a couple is married for 20 years and one spouse has a much higher paying job, it can put the other lower paid spouse in a difficult situation upon a divorce. Accordingly, an award of alimony may account for the discrepancy among the spouses’ financial abilities.

While each spouse’s income certainly plays into the court’s decision of whether to order alimony, there are a number of other factors courts consider. Among these are the length of the marriage, the amount of time it would take for the recipient to become financially independent and the ability of the paying spouse to support the other.

As is clear from the above factors, spousal support exists as a rehabilitative measure, and thus, typically is only ordered for as long as it takes for the recipient to receive training or otherwise become self-sufficient. If the recipient remarries, typically the alimony from the former spouse ceases.

While the factors considered by courts remain the same, the changing society has meant that women are no longer predominantly the recipients of alimony. Instead, payments from women to their former husbands are becoming increasingly more common.

Source: WABC, “More wives paying alimony to ex-husbands,” Darla Miles, Sep. 25, 2012

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