In Texas, there are two types of ‘alimony’ recognizable in divorce cases. The first one is known as spousal support, which is temporary compensation paid to one party during the separation period before the actual divorce is finalized. It caters for the house rent, bills, and other utilities. The amount payable as spousal support is discussed between the man and woman and it can be changed during the final divorce judgment.
The second one is spousal maintenance, which many people still refer to as alimony. It is pronounced during the final divorce judgment. Spousal maintenance may be temporary or permanent until that party involved decides to remarry. Temporary maintenance is awarded if one spouse needs some time and training to fit into the job market or until the house is sold. Permanent maintenance, on the other hand, is awarded if the couple has been married for long, and one party has the disadvantage of having been out of the job market for long.
When Does One Qualify For Spousal Maintenance?
The courts in Texas will award spousal maintenance under limited circumstances. The Texas laws dictate that one will only be entitled to spousal support given any of the following circumstances:
- If within 2 years of filing the divorce, the paying spouse was convicted of family violence.
- If the marriage had lasted for 10 years or longer
- If the requesting party does not have enough property, and this incorporates the property awarded from the divorce judgment.
- If the spouse has a small child that needs care, a situation that will make him or her stay at home and not to work.
- If the spouse has an incapacitating mental or physical disability that is a hindrance from participating in an appropriate or decent employment
Factors That Determine the Amount and Duration of the Alimony
If the spouse qualifies for alimony, the court will consider the following to determine the duration and the amount.
- How long the marriage lasted
- Property that each spouse contributed into the marriage
- Education level and work skills of each
- Ability to independently meet personal needs
- The amount of child support for each spouse
- Each spouse’s contributions in the home
- Any domestic violence in the marriage
- Earning potential, employment history, age and health of the spouses
- Any misconduct in the marriage such as adultery
Texas Law caps the spousal maintenance at $5000 a month or 20 percent of the monthly gross income of the paying spouse. This law also puts a limit to the amount of time the spouse will pay spousal maintenance.
However, if the support is because the spouse has physical or mental disabilities, or is taking custody of a child with the same disabilities, then the support will continue for as long has the condition has not changed.
Otherwise, the rest of the spousal maintenance orders are limited in duration. The following are statistics of the duration.
- Five years if the marriage lasted less than 10 years with an act of family violence
- If the marriage lasted for ten to twenty years, the alimony will last for five years
- If the marriage lasted for 20 to 30 years, the alimony will go on for seven years if the marriage lasted for more than 30 years, the alimony will go for 10 years.
Why You Need a Divorce Attorney in Texas
Spousal support and maintenance disputes can be quite emotional and frustrating. Think of your financial stability after the divorce. This is the reason you need an attorney in Texas with strong negotiation skills to represent your case. Alimony is an important factor that you cannot afford to lose. Thus, find a competent lawyer.