Alabama Alimony and Lesbian Cohabitation

Alabama statutes make it clear that alimony after divorce stops on the remarriage or cohabitation of the recipient with a member of the opposite sex. Ala. Code §30-2-55. So what happens if the cohabitation is between the recipient and her lesbian partner? The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals considered this issue in J.L.M. v. S.A.K., Case No. 2070641 (Ala. Civ. App. December 19, 2008).

The former husband was required to pay the former wife alimony of $1,000 per month. This case arose on the former husband’s filing of a petition to modify. He sought an end to the alimony payments on the grounds that he was about to lose his job and that the former wife had begun cohabitating in an “immoral sexual” lesbian relationship.

Testimony in the hearing that followed established that the wife was indeed cohabitating with her lesbian partner, that they had an active sexual relationship, and that their relationship had been a motivating factor for the divorce. In its initial ruling, the trial court reduced alimony from $1,000 to $500 per month. The former husband filed a postjudgment motion objecting to the court’s failure to terminate the husband’s alimony obligation completely. The court granted the motion but ordered that alimony would be reinstated if the wife ended her cohabitation. The court also set the case for an additional hearing.

At this second hearing, the former wife, the only witness, testified that she and her partner had separated, with the partner living in Nebraska and the former wife remaining in Alabama. The former wife testified that, although she and her partner no longer lived together, they remained in a committed relationship and talked by telephone. The court reinstated the alimony at $1,000 per month, and the former husband appealed.

The appeals court stated that Ala. Code §30-2-55 “cannot reasonably be read as applying to an ex-spouse receiving alimony who is living openly or cohabiting with a member of the same sex.” The former husband had argued that homosexuality is a crime involving moral turpitude and that it violates public policy to require him to “abet” the former wife’s criminal conduct. The appeals court rejected this argument, stating that alimony is purely statutory and that if the legislature wants to end it on the recipient’s homosexual cohabitation it is free to do so. “No matter the strength of the public policy, this court may not assume the role of the legislature and create laws, even if they would be consistent with that policy.”

3 comments

  1. Optimist says:

    I sure wish I could have someone subsidize my lifestyle like that. The court reinstated the alimony after the ex was no-longer co-habitating?!?! On its face, the logic here is baffling. The court is saying that because she was married to this man for some length of time, she will never have to be self supporting?..for the rest of her life. Just because she got married? What exactly does this man get….for the rest of his life. Obviously, just a bill. I see no upside to marriage these days, for men. It’s a lose/lose situation.

  2. Sandra says:

    My friend had to pay alimony because his wife did not work so he had to support her during most of there marriage. but they both did not agree on her not working. She did not want to work he try to get her to get a job she refused. She left him after 10 years of marriage. He had to pay her alimony. Now she works everyday and gets money from him too. I do not think he should have to pay her. The judge gave her everything she ask for. Now he has to struggle everyday. He tried to appeal it was denied.

  3. stuart loggins says:

    i am on disability. my wife divorced me for a woman. it was proven by me in the court room. the woman told me she loved her too. i told my lawyer. he went in the back room to talk with the other lawyer and judge. her lawyer came out and led the woman out of the room telling her she better watch her step little lady. my lawyer came out and said for me to leave. they covered it up. i have to pay alimony to an able bodied college educated woman with a job and i am on disability. i won custody of my kids. the judge ruled she didn’t have to pay me child support. but i still had to pay her alimony for life. Judge Steven King, Blount county, AL.

    my telephone number is xxx. i will be happy to show you the papers any time day or night. i really need help to get this mean vindictive woman off of me. she puts me in jail because i can’t afford to pay and my parents pay me out. three times so far. the judge threatened my mother into paying for me the last time. he knows exactly where the money is coming from. so does sheila loggins. so do my children who offered to help pay for my defense. daniel, kevin, ben, and matt it comes from walter and willa loggins savings account. they are 83 and 95 years old. i am not their only child i have 2 brothers what does that leave them? no inheritance

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