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Determining when alimony may be ordered

In many Texas divorces, the issue of alimony will need to be addressed. In determining whether to order alimony, courts consider a number of factors. If the court does order it, the paying spouse will be required to pay the amount for the entire duration of the ordered period.

Courts look at how long the marriage lasted, what the standard of living enjoyed by the couple during the marriage was, the relative incomes of both spouses and the ability of the lower-earning spouse to seek work or to complete an education to get a career. When a marriage has lasted a long time and there is a large disparity between the incomes of each spouse, people should expect alimony to be ordered.

People who expect that they will be required to pay alimony can try to negotiate an amount with their spouse. If they are able to reach an agreement, then the court will make that its order in the case. In some cases, alimony will not be ordered. This can include when a lower-earning spouse has a history of domestic violence against the higher-earning one. Judges generally will not grant a request for alimony in that case.

People who believe alimony is likely to be ordered may want to get help from a family law attorney. Legal counsel may be able to negotiate an agreed-upon duration and monthly amount with the other spouse. An attorney may also be able to secure an agreement for an alimony buy-out, in which the client agrees to pay a lump sum in exchange for avoiding the monthly payments that would otherwise be ordered. In some cases, a spouse that would otherwise receive alimony elects to forgo it.

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