Many people are aware that when a couple decides to
divorce, one spouse may be ordered to pay
spousal maintenance (alimony) to the lower-earning spouse so that he or she may continue to
maintain the standard of living established during the marriage. However,
many people are also unclear on exactly how alimony works, including how
much they have to pay, how the court decides how much should be paid,
and for how long. Below, we have answered four frequently asked questions
about spousal maintenance.
How is alimony calculated?
There is no clear-cut formula for determining how much alimony a divorced
spouse may get, but the Courts consider several factors when making a
decision. These include: the length of the marriage, whether the couple
has children, the income and earning potential of each spouse, the age
and overall health of each spouse, the standard of living enjoyed during
the marriage, and more. In Texas, a judge may even consider adultery when
it comes to determining whether to award alimony or not.
How long do I have to pay alimony?
The duration of alimony varies from case to case. In some cases, alimony
payments may only last a matter of months. In others, the paying spouse
may have to pay for the recipient’s lifetime, such as if the receiving
spouse is disabled. The Court will look at several factors, including
the receiving spouse’s level of need, their ability to become self-supporting,
and other factors.
Can alimony be modified?
Yes, there are a number of legitimate circumstances under which a paying
spouse may request a modification of their alimony obligation. These include
the remarriage of the receiving spouse, an illness or job loss, or another
significant change in circumstance that affects the ability to pay.
What happens if my ex won’t pay alimony?
If your ex-spouse doesn’t pay the support you are owed, you have
legal options. You may consider mediation or going back to court for a
wage garnishment order or contempt hearing.
Do you have more questions about alimony? The Austin divorce lawyer at
The Law Office of Janet McCullar, P.C. may be able to help.
Contact us today to schedule a case review.