When the topic of divorce comes up, many Texans wonder how alimony may be awarded and how that will affect their ongoing financial stability after the divorce. Alimony, or spousal support, is different than child support because it is paid directly to the former spouse for their continued well-being and ability to maintain a sustainable lifestyle. Alimony should always be considered when deciding whether to pursue a divorce proceeding.
Most family law courts will examine the financial, physical, mental and emotional health and well-being of both parties when deciding whether to award alimony payments. The overall financial condition of the marital estate will generally also be examined to ensure that if alimony is awarded, the amount is fair and equitable to both spouses. Ability of the paying spouse to maintain alimony payments for the duration ordered by the court is also a large factor in alimony awards.
Another key consideration is the duration of the marriage. Depending upon the state, alimony may be awarded for life, the duration of the marriage, half or less. Some people, especially spouses who are capable of earning an income on their own, may elect to decline alimony during divorce negotiations. While the court typically takes spousal preference regarding alimony into account, a judge may sometimes award alimony at the court’s discretion if other factors warrant it.
When a family law attorney begins a divorce case, the attorney may elect to start proceedings by rigorously examining the marital estate and holdings to determine the financial status of both parties. If the spouses have indicated that they do not wish to consider alimony, or alimony is a contested topic, the attorney might make a note of that as well. The attorney could negotiate with opposing counsel and present the results to the court.