The amount and duration of alimony ordered by the court will depend, in part, on the incomes of the spouses. While a couple of hundred dollars might not seem like much in a normal divorce, high net-worth divorces can result in thousands in monthly spousal support. Additionally, specific considerations need to be addressed when one or both spouses have high incomes.
How Is Alimony Calculated in High Net Worth Divorces?
Under Texas law, the maximum amount of monthly spousal support is $5,000 or 20% of the paying spouse’s average monthly gross income, whichever is lower. However, getting a deviation from this standard calculation may be possible if you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Deviations may also be possible if you pay for other marriage debts. It’s important to know that the court will consider awarding more or less than the standard amount in certain situations.
How Long Will Alimony Be Awarded?
The duration of alimony depends on the length of the marriage. Shorter marriages may only result in spousal maintenance payments for a couple of years. However, a 30-year marriage may end up with 10 years of alimony payments. Like the amount awarded, a divorce agreement can address the length of the spousal maintenance order. You can also persuade the judge to increase or decrease the length of time depending on your specific circumstances.
Many Streams of Income
Most people with a high net worth have more than one income stream. It can be difficult to track those down and value them to calculate an appropriate amount of alimony. You should try to keep track of where the money comes from within the marriage so that you are able to present a clear picture of your income and that of your spouse. If either of you hides income, the court may look negatively upon you in the future.
When Will Alimony Be Awarded in a High Net Worth Divorce?
During a divorce settlement, a court will only grant spousal maintenance if the spouse seeking alimony payments does not have the
financial resources to provide for their own minimum reasonable needs.
The spouse seeking support must prove one of the following circumstances exists:
- You were married for at least 10 years, and the seeking spouse lacks the education and employment skills to earn sufficient income.
- The requesting spouse lacks the ability to earn sufficient income because of an incapacitating physical or mental disability.
- The seeking spouse has primary custody of a child of the marriage who requires substantial care and personal supervision that prevents them from earning sufficient income.
The key in each of these situations is that the seeking spouse must not be able to meet their own minimum reasonable needs through their own income. The seeking spouse may be employed, but alimony or spousal support may be awarded if they cannot earn enough to meet their needs.
Can an Unemployed Spouse Get Alimony?
It is common for one spouse to be unemployed in a high-income divorce. If one spouse earns enough for the other to stay home, either to be a homemaker or care for the children, then they may not be able to support themselves after a divorce. In this situation, alimony may be appropriate.
However, the unemployed spouse may be required to seek training, education, or employment to meet their needs in the future. In fact, the court may make alimony contingent upon activities of self-support by the seeking spouse.
Can I Get Alimony Before the Divorce is Final?
Yes, in most cases, a judge will consider making a temporary support order to give alimony to the lower-earning spouse before the divorce is finalized. This will allow the seeking spouse to continue meeting their own minimum reasonable needs while the proceedings are going forward.
High-income divorces can take years to complete. A temporary support order will encourage efficiency in the divorce process and can also prompt negotiation between the spouses.
When Does Alimony End?
Alimony may be ordered for a specified amount of time or until a certain event occurs. For example, if you were married for 30 years, you may be awarded spousal support for 10 years. On the other hand, if you were married for five years, you may be able to get alimony until you complete a degree program that will allow you to earn enough money to support yourself.
In nearly all cases, if you move in with a new romantic partner or get remarried, your alimony will end.
What is the Process for Dividing Assets in a High-asset Divorce in Austin, TX?
In Austin, the division of property in a high-asset divorce can be complex and requires the expertise of a skilled family law attorney. Marital property in Texas is divided based on community property laws, which means that all assets acquired during the marriage are considered community property and belong to both spouses equally. However, separate property, which includes assets acquired by one spouse before the marriage or received as a gift or inheritance, is not subject to division in a divorce. In a high-asset divorce, the challenge is determining which assets are community property and which are separate property and ensuring that the division is equitable.
Do I Have to Pay Alimony If My Spouse Gets the House?
You may not have to pay alimony if your spouse gets the house, car, and other large assets in your divorce. Those issues will be considered by the court individually.
You can also reach an agreement with your spouse to avoid alimony if they get to keep the certain marital property. The court will generally sign off on any agreements made by the spouses in order to expedite the divorce.
Call a High-Income Divorce Lawyer for Help
High-income divorces involve a significant amount of money. They can also take time to resolve. Whether you are a paying spouse or you are seeking to receive spousal maintenance, you likely have questions about your rights involving alimony. Contact the Austin, TX Family Law Attorney Ben Carrasco, PLLC, at (866) 608-4555 for answers.