What Is the Average Alimony Percentage

What is the average alimony percentage that a person can receive in a divorce? This question is not easy to answer because alimony guidelines differ drastically among states and even within districts of a state. The best way to figure out the average alimony percentage in your area is to consult with a divorce lawyer. Looking at several different percentage calculations across the country gives a glimpse of just how different alimony orders can be.

Flat Rates
Some states have laws in place that restrict the amount of alimony that a person can receive. These restrictions cap the alimony amount taken from the paying party's net income. For example, in Texas, the paying party cannot be given an order for alimony that exceeds 20 percent of his monthly salary or $2,500 per month. Also, in Texas, alimony will not be awarded to someone who has been married fewer than 10 years. California often follows the 40-50 rule, where the alimony award is 40 percent of the paying party's net income. This amount is then reduced by 50 percent of the receiving party's income.

Equalization Alimony
Many judges follow an equalization of income formula for establishing a percentage of alimony. The alimony percentage is figured out by first adding the gross income of both parties. Divide by 2, and subtract the lower salary (belonging to the receiving spouse, usually) from it. Multiply that answer by 20 percent, and then divide it by 12 (months of the year). The answer is the amount of alimony paid from the paying party to the receiving party. Other factors, such as child custody costs and dividing the marital property, may affect this formula.

Even if a percentage of income is ordered for alimony, that amount will likely change over the duration of the order. When the paying party's circumstances change, such as getting a raise or losing a job, the court can modify the alimony order. Similarly, if the receiving party's income drops significantly, such as through disability or job loss, the percentage of alimony can be modified accordingly.

In general, the average amount of alimony a person receives will depend on the circumstances of the divorce and the laws of the state in which the divorce takes place. Looking up your state's laws and consulting a lawyer is a good place to start if you want to know how much to expect.

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