Family laws are always changing, and even minor adjustments to the code may have a dramatic impact on your final settlement. On Jan. 1, the Alabama legislature enacted several modifications to the divorce law which could affect anyone seeking spousal support or their fair share of retirement savings. Getting up-to-date information on the latest statutes is just one of the reasons to hire a skilled attorney before filing for divorce.
New Alabama Divorce Laws
Retirement Benefits Now Considered a Marital Asset
Under previous law, the court would generally not consider giving one spouse a share of the primary worker’s retirement benefits unless they’d been married for at least 10 years. As of January 1st, this rule has changed, giving negotiating couples and family law courts more flexibility in creating a just distribution of assets. While the judge isn’t required to include pension plans, 401(k) contributions, and other retirement savings in a divorce settlement if you’ve been married less than 10 years, it’s at least an option.
Limitations on Spousal Support
Alabama has also placed new limitations on the duration of spousal support, also known as alimony. Instead of long-term payments intended to provide a lifetime of support, alimony is now considered a rehabilitative resource that should last for no more than five years. In extraordinary circumstances, the court may order payments over a longer term, not to exceed the duration of the marriage itself. However, if the marriage lasted for 20 years or longer, family law courts may still use their discretion and order unlimited spousal support.
Since 1982, Ray T. Kennington, Attorney At Law has provided Ozark, AL, with high-quality service across a broad range of family law matters. He understands how crucial child support and divorce disputes can be, and strives to give every client the personal attention they deserve. Visit his website for more on his family law services, or call (334) 445-1200 to schedule a consultation today.