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Determinations that go into the awarding of spousal support

We’ve been hearing a lot about permanent alimony in the news media as of late.  It is less common than it was in years past simply because both spouses are now more likely to earn a decent income than when there was only one breadwinner in the family.

Permanent alimony is more likely to be awarded when the two spouses had been married for more than 30 years.  It can crop up when one of the spouses is financially dependent upon the others and is more than 50-years-old.  It is also likely to be ordered if the former spouse is in poor health, has limited earning capacity due inexperience or lack of education, or has given up a career in order to raise the couple’s children.

We are seeing more alimony awards on a temporary basis that would help a spouse survive until he or she has the necessary training or education to then be self-supporting. There may also be a suspension of payments in the event the providing spouse retires or somehow loses their income.

As in all states, the rules concerning alimony in Texas are unique. However, it may be awarded if there is a showing that a spouse will not have the resources to live a reasonable lifestyle unless spousal support payments are made.

There is not one uniform system for the way alimony is awarded. Since in Texas legislators often tinker with how alimony should be awarded, it’s often only the family law attorneys that ultimately understand precisely how such payments will work.

Source: Kiplinger, “When Permanent Alimony Makes Sense,” Knight Kiplinger, Sep. 2013

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