Spousal Support Requirements in Texas
Spousal support refers to the periodic payment from one spouse to another for support. Spousal support is commonly known as alimony.
If a divorce is pending, one spouse may have to prepare for the possibility of making spousal support payments. If spouses have been married for years, and one spouse’s income is significantly higher than the other, it is possible that some amount of spousal payments will be ordered.
Texas courts have moved towards reducing the amount of spousal payments to what is reasonably necessary to enable the other spouse to become self-supporting.
Court-Ordered Spousal Maintenance After Divorce
Spousal maintenance after a final divorce is a topic subject to much scrutiny. The potential for being ordered to pay is dependent on a few factors. For starters, the spouse seeking payments must lack sufficient property to provide for her minimum reasonable needs upon divorce. Additionally, one of the following circumstances must be shown:
- A mental or physical disability is preventing you from being able to earn the income necessary to meet your needs and maintain a decent standard of living
- You and your spouse were married for at least ten years and you are unable to earn the income necessary to provide for your basic needs
- You will be the custodian of a child of the marriage who requires substantial care and personal supervision because of a physical or mental disability, and you will need financial support to tend to that child’s care and supervision
- Your spouse was convicted of domestic violence during the divorce proceedings, or within the two years prior to filing for divorce.
Once eligibility is determined, a judge may still deny spousal maintenance depending on a variety of factors made known to the court. Age, employment history, fault in divorce, efforts to find employment and education background can be considered.
Temporary Alimony in Fort Worth
A court may deem it necessary to award temporary spousal support. Temporary support payments will be awarded during the pendency of the divorce and end when the divorce is final or until further order by the court. Spousal support is not awarded in every case, and is not determined by a formula in the same way as child support.
Duration & Amount of Spousal Maintenance
If maintenance is ordered in a divorce, a spouse will be ordered to make a specific amount of payments each month until a date set in the future. The duration will be for a reasonable time to allow for your ex-spouse to become self-sufficient, and capped at a certain number of years depending on the length of your marriage. The amount of spousal maintenance is controlled by statutory guidelines as well as additional criteria that are specific to your situation.
An experienced Dallas/Fort Worth spousal support attorney will know how to argue for and against spousal support and maintenance. If you believe spousal maintenance may be an issue in your divorce, feel free to give us a call at (817) 887-9158 or simply fill out our contact form.