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Lump Sum Alimony in Alabama: Pros, Cons, and Legal Considerations

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How is Alimony Awarded in Alabama?

Alimony is a payment that an ex-spouse makes to the other ex-spouse after a divorce. If you divorce in the State of Alabama, a Pell City divorce attorney – along with handling the other aspects of your divorce – will explain how alimony may be a factor in your case.

If a dispute over alimony is part of your ongoing divorce, or if an alimony dispute emerges after the divorce is finalized, you’ll need help from an experienced divorce lawyer in order to resolve that dispute.

How does the law in Alabama address the question of alimony? Should you make or accept a lump sum alimony payment, or is it better to make or receive monthly payments? What will a Pell City divorce lawyer do on your behalf?

How Does Alabama Law Address Alimony?

Alabama law does not require anyone to pay or receive alimony after a divorce. In fact, if the divorcing spouses have comparable earning abilities and incomes, alimony may have no part in a divorce proceeding. Alimony payments are awarded in Alabama solely at the court’s discretion.

A judge will attempt to balance the needs of the divorcing spouses and will consider a variety of factors when deciding if one spouse should be ordered to make alimony payments to the other. The factors that may be taken into account include but are not necessarily limited to:

  1. the length of the marriage
  2.  the education level and earning ability of both spouses
  3.  if one spouse is “at fault” for the divorce
  4.  the age and health of the spouses
  5.  if one spouse raised the children full-time and was financially dependent on the other

A judge may also consider any abusive or criminal behavior, abnormal or excessive spending, or property destruction by either divorcing spouse. Every divorce is different, and the specific facts of each divorce will determine whether or not alimony is awarded.

How Much Alimony Can Someone Receive?

Alimony payments are typically made monthly, but alimony may also be paid with a lump sum, a transfer of property, or with the direct payment of expenses such as car loans, utilities, and mortgages.

There is no formula in Alabama law for deciding how much alimony an ex-spouse will pay or receive. That amount depends on the needs of the spouse receiving the alimony and the ability of the paying spouse to make the payments. Alimony may be paid “periodically” or “in gross.”

Periodic alimony is usually the monthly payment of a specific alimony amount. Alimony in gross is usually a one-time, lump sum payment to an ex-spouse intended to last until that person can enter (or re-enter) the work force and be self-supporting.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Receiving a Lump Sum Alimony Payment?

If you and your divorce lawyer anticipate that you will be ordered to make alimony payments, the option to pay a lump sum rather than payments over time should be thoughtfully considered before any proceedings are scheduled and before any agreements are reached.

What are the advantages of receiving a lump sum alimony payment? Probably the main advantage is the certainty of receiving all of the alimony that you are entitled to receive. You won’t lose anything in the future if your ex-spouse is unemployed, incapacitated, or passes away.

Additionally, if you’re good at investing, having a lump sum lets you make more profitable investments. However, for some ex-spouses, there may be disadvantages to receiving alimony in a single lump sum.

A lump sum could disqualify you for public benefits, and if you’re a student, it could make you ineligible for some types of financial aid. And some people – it happens all the time – simply aren’t responsible with a large sum of money, and they spend it or lose it to a con artist.

What Are the Pros and Cons of a Lump Sum for Ex-Spouses Who Pay Alimony?

If you make a lump sum alimony payment, you don’t have to think about alimony again. If you get a large raise, you will not pay more alimony, and if you lose your job or you are unable to work, you won’t be pursued about payments you wouldn’t be able to make if you paid monthly.

If you offer a lump sum alimony payment, your Pell City divorce lawyer can negotiate for a lesser total amount than you would pay if payments were monthly. In return, your ex-spouse has the certainty that the alimony he or she needs will be paid.

However, if you are the paying spouse, a lump sum payment also has potential disadvantages. If your ex quickly remarries, you may have paid more than you needed to pay. If you lose your job soon after making a lump sum alimony payment, you may have very little left to “fall back” on.

What Steps Should You Take?

If you are considering a divorce, or if you expect that your spouse may be divorcing you, before you take any other steps, schedule a consultation with a Pell City divorce attorney.

Along with alimony, you and your attorney should discuss the division of marital properties and assets, and if you and the spouse you are divorcing have minor children, you should also discuss child custody and child support with your attorney.

Your attorney will ensure that you’re treated fairly and properly by the court and that you receive everything that is rightfully yours in the final divorce settlement. But with so many lawyers practicing in the greater Birmingham area, how can you choose the right divorce lawyer?

Jim Golden Law Will Fight on Your Behalf

Alabama family law attorney Jim Golden and the team at Jim Golden Law will provide the insights, legal advice, and effective advocacy you need in a divorce proceeding. Jim Golden has considerable experience resolving the most acrimonious and complicated divorce disputes.

If you expect a fight over alimony, assets, or the custody of your child – or if you need to learn more about divorce in Alabama – call the Pell City law offices of Jim Golden Law at 866-950-6652 and schedule your first legal consultation with us with no cost or obligation.

We represent divorcing spouses across the greater Birmingham area and throughout the State of Alabama. We also handle paternity disputes and adoptions as well as criminal and personal injury cases. When you become a client of Jim Golden Law, we will put the law to work for you.

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