4th Mar 2018

Division of Retirement Benefits in Divorce Cases – Act 2017-162 (HB208, Rep. Coleman) (Effective Date: 1/1/18).

This Act amends § 30-2-51, Ala. Code 1975, relating to allowance upon divorce of certain retirement benefits to allowance upon divorce of certain retirement benefits, to grant courts broad discretion to use any equitable method of valuing, dividing, and distribution of the benefits.

(LINK TO ACT 2017-162)

If either spouse has no separate estate or if it is insufficient for the maintenance of a spouse, then the Court has the authority to divide retirement benefits.
The Court has the discretion to award up to 50% of the retirement account of one spouse to the other spouse. This distribution is limited to the retirement benefits acquired during the marriage and to retirement benefits in which the spouse has a vested or unvested interest. This distribution must exclude retirement benefits and earnings acquired prior to the marriage. The court may use any method of valuing, dividing, and distributing an interest in retirement benefits that is equitable under the circumstances of the case.

These restrictions are applicable only to the court in deciding the matter. If the parties agree otherwise, the court may honor that agreement.

Interim Alimony in Divorce, Legal Separation, or Annulment Actions – Act 2017-164 (HB257, Rep. Jones) (Effective Date: 1/1/18):

This Act provides for an award of interim alimony in an action for divorce, legal separation, or annulment under certain conditions; for the modification and termination of interim alimony awards and orders awarding rehabilitative or periodic alimony; and for an award of rehabilitative or periodic alimony under certain conditions upon the granting of a divorce or legal separation.

(LINK TO ACT 2017-164)

If an party to a divorce, legal separation or annulment can prove the need for alimony pending the final trial, the the Court has the ability to award interim alimony. Upon granting a divorce or legal separation, the court shall award either rehabilitative or periodic alimony if 1) a party lacks a separate estate or his or her separate estate is insufficient to enable the party to acquire the ability to preserve, to the extent possible, the economic status quo of the parties as it existed during the marriage, 2) The other party has the ability to supply those means without undue economic hardship, and 3) The circumstances of the case make it equitable. The Court must consider rehabilitative alimony first, or a limited duration, not to exceed five years unless extraordinary circumstances exist. If the Court determines that periodic alimony should be awarded (either rehabilitatibe alimony is insufficient or infeasible), then the Court may award periodic alimony for a period not to exceed the length of the marriage, as of the date of the filing of the complaint, with the exception that if a party is married for 20 years or longer, there shall be no time limit as to his or her eligibility.

If you have any questions regarding the changes in the law or if you are considering a divorce, please contact us


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