When you get a divorce, you may need to settle several financial matters with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. You may be able to decide on how to split up the major assets like the house and cars, and if you have children, you will probably face several custody and child support issues. Another matter that commonly arises during the divorce process is the question of alimony, or spousal maintenance.
Alimony is a financial payment made to an ex-spouse who typically earned less during the marriage and who may be facing hardships and disadvantages after the breakup related to his or her inability to find adequate financial resources. Whether you are the person who will be making alimony payments, or you are the individual who will be receiving them, you may want to take advantage of the resources readily available to assist you during this time.
Alimony payments are an attempt to balance the inequities of what could be an unfair divorce. If a person has given up many years of potential earnings to support the family by raising children, that individual may need time to be able to enter the workforce after the marriage has ended. Alimony payments can help this individual get back on his or her feet while he or she takes steps to move on in a career.
A court order sets the alimony payment details, but a payer in violation of the payment schedule doesn't face the same retrieval methods as someone who does not pay child support. It can become quite a challenge to receive missed payments, but a recipient could file a contempt of court order to potentially make the payer resume payment.
The payments are not meant to be a long-term financial solution, and they usually have an end date. In cases where an individual is disabled or elderly, the payments could continue indefinitely. If the payer dies, a court could order that the payments continue to occur directly from the payer's estate.
How will the payments be determined?
Payments are determined using several factors. Those factors include:
- The length of the marriage
- The length of time it could take for the lesser-earning spouse to find suitable employment
- The ability of the payer to support him or herself and make payments to the recipient
- The couple's standard of living during the marriage
- The ability or disability of the recipient to earn again, along with his or her age, emotional state, and finances
Originally, breadwinning men paid alimony to women who stayed at home to manage the households. As times have changed, more women work and more fathers are choosing to be stay-at-home dads, so it is entirely possible that a woman could pay alimony to a man. After the divorce, the two parties could also choose not to include an alimony settlement at all. It depends on the unique circumstances of each case.
Where to find support for decisions and issues regarding alimony?
You may be thinking that it sounds like there are a lot of calculations and complexities involved in determining an appropriate amount of spousal maintenance. Rushing this process without careful guidance could increase the odds of ultimately receiving a lesser amount of alimony than you are rightfully owed. Whether you face an out-of-court settlement or your divorce is going to trial, alimony could play a very important role in your financial future. An experienced Texas divorce attorney could prove to be an invaluable advocate during this challenging time.