Divorce is complicated. Life after divorce can be even more complicated, especially you and your spouse do not reach an equitable agreement.
To the end of providing justice, Alabama lawmakers have set up three specific requirements for courts when awarding alimony (a.k.a. spousal support or maintenance). You would have to meet all three before proceeding.
It is important to understand that this is only the statute. There is also a large body of caselaw that could change the outcome of your divorce.
Rule 1: One spouse lacks financial means
The first rule comes from financial need. For example, the court might consider alimony if you lack an estate, or if your estate is not large enough to help you support yourself after the divorce. In other words, the court wants both you and your spouse to be able to maintain the status quo as much as possible.
Rule 2: The other spouse could provide funds
The next rule deals with the ability to pay. It is not enough that you or your spouse needs the funds. One of you also must have to have the ability to pay. The court looks at whether paying alimony would represent undue financial hardship. Remember: One of the main goals is to help both you and your spouse maintain the status quo after divorce.
Rule 3: Alimony would be an equitable decision
The final rule goes back to fairness. The goal of Alabama courts is to establish a fair and equitable divorce for both parties — you and your spouse. If alimony would not be fair for your specific situation, the court would not have grounds to award it.
In addition to simply being the legal framework, this is also only the first step towards alimony. If it turns out that spousal support would be equitable, then you (or the court) would probably have to look at various other aspects before reaching a final decision.