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Factors that determine alimony amounts

Texas residents may be interested in some general information about alimony, from what it is to how the amount is determined. Depending on numerous factors, the amount that a court orders to be paid in alimony can vary from couple to couple.

Alimony is the term for monetary support paid from one former spouse to the other after a divorce. The amount of alimony paid is usually determined either by a negotiated agreement between the former spouses or by a court order. When the couple does not agree on alimony payments, a court is given wide discretion in deciding on an appropriate amount. It does this by looking at several factors, including the standard of living that the couple had when married, the financial situation and age of the former spouses and the amount of time it would take for the lesser-earning spouse to receive training in order to be self-sufficient. The court will also take into account the ability of the paying ex-spouse to support themselves while making those alimony payments.

In many cases, alimony is only paid for a finite amount of time, since its goal is to rehabilitate a former spouse into supporting themselves. When the party receiving alimony remarries, this will usually cut off the alimony payments. Otherwise, payments will continue until a court orders that they stop. These payments can even continue past the paying spouse's death and be taken from their estate assets.

Estimating the amount of alimony that a court may order can be difficult without the help of an attorney. The attorney may be able to represent a party in negotiations to determine an amount that is fair.

Source: Findlaw, "Spousal Support (Alimony) Basics", September 04, 2014

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