Alimony in Short-Term Marriages

Can Short-Term Spouses Still Get Alimony?

A common misconception is that couples must be married for a certain number of years before either spouse will be entitled to alimony. That is not true, as there is actually no bright line rule to that effect. However, it is rare that a spouse in Alabama is awarded alimony after only being married for a very short period of time. It actually all depends on the specific situation.

Why is alimony awarded to spouses?

The purpose of alimony is to limit any unfair economic effects of a divorce by providing continuing income to the spouse who is either unemployed or earning lower wages than the other. The justification for this award, in part, is usually that one spouse may have given up a career to support the family. As such, that spouse needs time to find ways to support himself or herself. Another purpose of awarding alimony may be to allow one spouse to continue the standard of living he or she was used to during the marriage. So, what are some examples where alimony was awarded after a short-term marriage?

Courts consider different factors in deciding alimony

According to case law in Alabama, judges can consider many different factors in determining a spouse’s need for alimony in each case. One court has explained as follows:

“When dividing marital property and determining a party’s need for alimony, a trial court should consider several factors, including ‘the length of the marriage, the age and health of the parties, the future employment prospects of the parties, the source, value, and type of property owned, and the standard of living to which the parties have become accustomed during the marriage.” Ex parte Elliott, 782 So. 2d 308 (Ala.2000) (quoting Nowell v. Nowell, 474 So. 2d 1128, 1129 (Ala.Civ.App.1985))

It is also interesting to note that, the appeals court, also considered the fact that the husband was in pursuit of a professional license, which would provide him with the income necessary to pay the alimony.

If you have questions regarding alimony or any other family law matter, contact us online or by calling Brad J. Latta at (205) 823-1223 for a consultation.

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