Payments made by one spouse to another after divorce goes by many names: alimony, spousal support, and spousal maintenance to name a few. Moreover, for as many names as this arrangement has, there are as many, or more, different ways it can apply in a given case. Today, we cover three types of alimony available in Alabama.

Rehabilitative alimony

All alimony focuses on helping those who were previously dependent on their spouse financially. Rehabilitative support provides for the dependent spouse for a short period, typically no more than five years, while they transition back into the job market. For example, if one spouse needs a year or two to finish their degree, the court can award spousal support for that time.

Periodic alimony

This is the type of support many of us think of when talking about divorce. One spouse makes regular payments to the other for a set period. However, changes to divorce law in Alabama recently restricted how long these payments can go on. Generally, someone is now eligible for periodic alimony for no longer than the length of time they were married. If the marriage lasted ten years, they could collect periodic maintenance for no longer than ten years.

There is, however, one exception to the periodic alimony limit: Support can be awarded indefinitely if a couple was married for more than 20 years before they divorced.

Alimony in gross

Although alimony in gross is often viewed as a property division tool, it technically is a form of spousal support. Someone can pay alimony in gross in periodic payments or a lump sum, just like regular alimony. The difference is the source of the payments. Rather than the paying spouse’s income, alimony in gross comes from the assets to be divided in the divorce.