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Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin

Alimony G. R. Fernambucq and Joseph P. Callaway PAELRIMIOODNICY––– Changes & Th ere are new state statutes dealing with periodic alimony which aff ect the award of alimony in divorce, legal separation and annulment cases. Th ey are codifi ed at §30-2-56, 57 and 58 Code of Alabama (1975). It is divided into three substantive parts consisting of interim alimony found in §30-2-56 and also rehabilitative or periodic alimony found in §30- 2-57. Th ese statutes became eff ective on January 1, 2018, and as directed in §30- 2-58, apply to actions for divorce, legal separation, or annulment fi led on or after January 1, 2018. Th e law in eff ect before January 1, 2018, shall continue to govern any action concerning alimony in any case that was fi led before January 1, 2018. Section 30-2-56 (a)(1) provides that a court may award interim alimony in an action for divorce or legal separation when 1) the spouse maintains the validity of the marriage, 2) the spouse needs interim Updates alimony, taking into consideration any other fi nancial contributions provided by the other spouse pursuant to other interim orders of the court, and 3) the other spouse has the ability to pay interim alimony. Th e law allows the court to award interim alimony retroactively to the date of the fi ling of the complaint, and provides that the amount awarded is to be based on a number of equitable factors that the court must consider in awarding rehabilitative or periodic alimony. Section 30-2-56 (d) also provides that “the court may award out of the marital property or current income reasonable interim fees, costs, and litigation expenses, including discovery, expert witnesses, guardians ad litem, special masters, and attorney fees, to enable each party to have equitable access to the marital property to pursue or defend the action.” Th is Section specifi cally applies to “an action for divorce, legal separation, annulment or appeals thereof.” Th is should greatly help level the playing fi eld in many actions where one party has limited access to funds needed to adequately defend or pursue the action. We have seen way too often a situation where one party has been denied access to the necessary funds to apply toward litigation expenses such as these, and has therefore been unable to adequately defend or pursue the action. Section 30-2-57 (a) provides that a trial court may award rehabilitative or periodic alimony when it makes an express fi nding that a party has an insuffi cient separate estate to maintain the status quo of the parties during the marriage, the paying spouse has the ability to pay, and the circumstances of the case make an award of alimony equitable. Th e determination of whether the above conditions exists is to be based on all rele- 12 Birmingham Bar Association


Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin
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