Why would a former spouse need alimony?

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2022 | Family Law |

As Texas couples negotiate divorce settlements, the question of alimony might be one they ponder. While alimony is not awarded in all cases, it might be necessary for some situations, particularly if one spouse has been the stay-at-home parent and does not work or does not earn as much as the other spouse.

The purpose of alimony

Alimony, or spousal support, is awarded to provide financial support to a spouse whose financial situation after a divorce might be precarious. If one spouse is not able to cover their basic needs financially while the other spouse is in a strong, secure financial situation, the court might award alimony to ensure that the struggling spouse is supported, whether permanently or temporarily until they can earn enough to cover all their needs.

Who receives alimony

In the past, wives were the ones who normally received alimony, particularly since in many situations they were either the stay-at-home spouse or had sacrificed professional opportunities to care for their families. And while alimony is still primarily awarded to wives, either spouse can receive alimony, depending on their financial situation.

Factors that judges consider when awarding alimony

Before judges award alimony payments, they consider several factors. These include:

  • Each spouse’s financial situation, including their income, assets, debts and financial responsibilities
  • How many years the couple was married
  • The investment each spouse had in the marriage, which includes both financially and the roles each played in the family and household
  • How long alimony payments will be necessary

For many couples, alimony is no longer a necessity, particularly if both spouses earn similarly or can cover all their financial needs with their income. However, when the spouses are in an unequal financial situation, alimony might still be a necessary part of the divorce settlement.