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How Does Alimony Work?

If you are like most people, you have heard of alimony, yet you might not fully understand what this word really means. Our legal team is here to provide a plain English explanation of alimony, helping you understand your legal rights and ensure justice is served. Here is a quick look at what alimony is and how it works.

The Basics of Alimony

Alimony is financial support that one ex-spouse pays to the other. This money is paid after the marriage legally ends. Also known as spousal support, alimony can be permanent or temporary. Temporary alimony, also referred to as pendente lite alimony, is granted when the divorce is underway, providing essential financial assistance until the divorce is complete. Once the divorce is finalized, there is the potential for the alimony to continue with an order for alimony. However, there is also the potential for the temporary alimony to stop. 

If alimony is awarded when the divorce has legally ended, the amount has the potential to be significantly higher or lower than that of the temporary alimony. The logic in one spouse providing alimony payments to his or her ex-spouse is that it provides financial support that is reasonable and necessary. The individual requesting alimony is required to prove to the court that financial support is necessary. The party requesting alimony must also prove the ex-spouse is capable of providing financial support.

Alimony Length

The length of time that alimony is provided is detailed in the court order. This figure is determined either through a spousal agreement or the judge’s determination. However, the judge will only make a determination if the ex-spouses cannot agree on alimony length. Indefinite alimony continues until one of the spouses passes away or up until the point in time when the court decides alimony is no longer necessary. Time-limited alimony, sometimes referred to as rehabilitative alimony, lasts for a specific period of time as decided by the judge. As an example, time-limited alimony might be provided so the financially needy individual can obtain the education, training, or work experience necessary to support him or herself.

Alimony Requests After Divorce

If you seek alimony, it is imperative you request it during the divorce process. Our legal team is here to fiercely advocate on your behalf to ensure you are provided with the alimony you deserve. If you decide you need alimony after you divorce, you will not receive it. The request for alimony must be made during the divorce proceeding. Once the divorce case is over, your opportunity to obtain alimony will no longer be available. It must be noted that both men and women are eligible for alimony. As long as a financial need can be demonstrated, there is a chance the court will determine you are worthy of alimony.

Alimony Payments After the Divorce

If your former spouse fails to pay alimony payments on time and in full, lean on our legal team to take action on your behalf. We will review the details of your case and alimony agreement or court award and then file a motion for contempt on your behalf. This motion requests that the court takes the steps necessary to enforce the order. Our attorneys are often asked whether alimony can be changed following the divorce. Indeed, alimony has the potential to be modified if circumstances change. The party that requests the modification will be required to return to the court where the order to file for modification was granted. Our legal team is here to represent you in and out of court, ultimately helping you receive or pay a fair amount of alimony. 

It must be noted that if you are receiving alimony and remarry, there might be solid legal footing to end your alimony award. However, alimony will not automatically come to an end when you remarry. The ex-spouse must request that the court stop alimony. If this request is not made, alimony payments will continue as originally instructed by the court or as agreed to by the ex-spouses.

The Forms of Alimony Payments

If the court orders alimony to be paid, it will take the form of periodic monthly payments, a lump-sum payment, or even a property transfer. Monthly alimony payments are by far the most common variety of alimony. A monthly alimony arrangement entails a specific amount is paid to the supported spouse on a monthly basis. Monthly alimony ends at the end date established by the judge or when a certain event occurs, such as the ex-spouse passing away, the supported spouse cohabitating, the supported spouse remarrying, the paying spouse retiring, or the supported spouse obtaining high-paying employment. Alimony paid in the form of a lump-sum payment or a property transfer is typically nonmodifiable, meaning it cannot be altered at a later date or terminated. 

Setzer Law Firm in Colleyville, TX is here to help with your family law matter. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. You can reach us by phone at 817-767-1865 or online by filling out our web-basedcontact form.

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