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There are no charts or formulas that a judge must follow, which means there really isn't a "normal alimony" amount. Alimony is need based, which means that it is always dependent on the specific facts of the case in front of the court.
First, the parties must have been married at least 10 years for either spouse to get support, unless one of the spouses is disabled (or caring for a disabled child of the marriage
) and unable to work. Tex. Fam. Code, Section 8.051. Beyond that, the judge is looking at how much the spouse requesting alimony makes; how much child support
, if any, the spouse gets; whether the spouse received any income-producing marital assets; and the spouse's expenses. Then the judge determines how much money is needed to allow the lower-earning spouse to continue living in the marital standard of living, and looks at whether the other spouse has the ability to pay that amount. If not, the judge will determine what the other spouse CAN pay.
All of the factors the judge must considered are laid out in Section 8.052:
(1) each spouse's ability to provide for that spouse's minimum reasonable needs independently, considering that spouse's financial resources on dissolution of the marriage;
(2) the education and employment skills of the spouses, the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the spouse seeking maintenance to earn sufficient income, and the availability and feasibility of that education or training;
(3) the duration of the marriage;
(4) the age, employment history, earning ability, and physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance;
(5) the effect on each spouse's ability to provide for that spouse's minimum reasonable needs while providing periodic child support payments or maintenance, if applicable;
(6) acts by either spouse resulting in excessive or abnormal expenditures or destruction, concealment, or fraudulent disposition of community property
, joint tenancy
, or other property held in common;
(7) the contribution by one spouse to the education, training, or increased earning power of the other spouse;
(8) the property brought to the marriage by either spouse;
(9) the contribution of a spouse as homemaker;
(10) marital misconduct, including adultery and cruel treatment, by either spouse during the marriage; and
(11) any history or pattern of family violence
Alimony is usually ordered for about half the length of the marriage, because the purpose is to help the lower earning spouse get by until he/she is able to increase his/her income. With extremely long-term marriages where one spouse never worked, alimony can be ordered to continue until the lower-earning spouse dies or remarries.
The spouse who is paying alimony can also be ordered to purchase a life insurance policy for the benefit of the other spouse as protection if he/she passes away while still paying.
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