After receiving a court order for alimony, you may have felt considerable relief knowing your financial situation will include regular income.
How you spend the alimony may make a difference in your future, though, so plan your budget with that in mind, as well as the reasons you received the award.
To preserve the status quo
According to Alabama statutes, the judge came to his or her decision by examining the standard of living you and your spouse enjoyed during your marriage. The goal was to keep you and your former spouse as close to that standard of living as possible based on what you need and he or she has the ability to pay.
If the reason you cannot maintain a decent standard of living is your earning capacity, then the judge may order rehabilitative alimony for no more than five years. You should use the money to become self-sufficient enough to maintain the standard of living before the award ends. This could involve paying for education or training, or helping to cover expenses while obtaining skills and experience that will lead to a good job.
To balance out contributions in the marriage
Many spouses make career sacrifices so that their husband or wife can succeed instead. Judges take those into account, so you may receive alimony to cover the losses you suffered through your marital support of your spouse. This could be your chance to take those same opportunities your spouse enjoyed during the marriage.
To take care of a child
Judges should always have the best interests of the children in mind when making any divorce decisions involving them. If you have a child with special needs or a disability of some kind, and you cannot work and take care of your child’s needs, the judge may order enough alimony to enable you to stay home with your child. This is likely to be in addition to child support.