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.