The legal aspects of Texas alimony were explained in the previous article titled “Texas Alimony Part 1.” Here, the reality of how alimony works will be explained. Only a qualified Austin divorce lawyer can help you determine if Alimony is appropriate for you.
Let’s take the first factor that needs to be met. The “determination factor.”
If a couple hasn’t been married for 10 years, alimony is out. Period. End of discussion.
If they have been married for 10 years and the other spouse is working and earning about $18,000.00 a year, again, alimony is out.
So in order to meet the “determination factor”‘ a couple has to be married 10 years and the spouse who is requesting alimony is earning less than $18,000.00 a year.
Both of these have to be met before moving on to step two, the “determination factor.”
Amount and frequency are addressed in the determination factor.
Frequency covers how long a person paying alimony has to pay. A court can only order alimony for a period between 0 and 36 months. It doesn’t matter if you were married 10 years or 100 years. A court can’t order a person to pay for more than 36 months.
As far as amount goes, a court can only order one spouse to pay the other the lesser of $2,500.00 or 20% of the payor’s spouse’s gross income per month. In order to figure out how much you will have to pay in alimony or how much you will receive, take the payor’s spouse’s annual gross income and divide by 12. Then multiply it by .20. If that amount is less than $2,500.00, then that will be the monthly amount. If the amount is more than $2,500.00, the the amount of $2,500.00 will be the amount.
For example, if a spouse earns $96,000.00 a year, the calculation would be $96,000.00 divided by 12=$8,000.00. This multiplied by .20=$1,600.00. because this amount is less than $2,500.00, the alimony obligation would be $1,600.00 per month.
Now using the same formula but a spouse earning $240,000.00 would yield a monthly alimony obligation of $4,000.00. Because a court can’t order that much, they have to max out on an order of $2,500.00.