Regardless of what side you fall on in a divorce, the subject of alimony (called spousal maintenance in Texas) is likely one you’re concerned about. In Texas, alimony is determined through an extensive set of guidelines that ensure a fair settlement for both parties. These guidelines may be able to give you an idea of what alimony could look like in your case.
What are the Requirements for Alimony?
Alimony is not always awarded in a Texas divorce case, and compared to most states, is harder to acquire via court order due to stringent requirements. In order to receive alimony, the party requesting it must demonstrate that they have a need to receive income from their spouse. If their income is found to be generally sufficient enough to reasonably support themselves then alimony will not be considered. Otherwise, the requesting party must also demonstrate one of the following:
- They are unable to support themselves due to a disability, physical or mental;
- A child of the marriage has a physical or mental disability that prevents them from earning enough income to support themselves and the child;
- The marriage has lasted for at least ten years, and the requesting party does not have the ability to earn sufficient income to support themselves, or
- Their partner was convicted of domestic violence within two years of filing for divorce.
The requesting spouse holds the burden of proving both their need for alimony and the condition that satisfies at least one of these requirements.
How is the Amount of Alimony Determined?
Texas also places guidelines on the amount of alimony that is allowed to be awarded via court order. The maximum that a spouse will be awarded is either $5,000 or twenty percent of the paying spouse’s average monthly income, whichever is lower. There is also a maximum length of alimony, which is determined by the length of the marriage. In marriages of under ten years, alimony is usually not awarded except in cases of domestic violence. In these cases, and for marriages that lasted between ten and twenty years, the duration is limited to a maximum of five years. If the marriage lasted between twenty and thirty years, the maximum duration is seven years, and for any marriage longer than thirty years, the maximum is ten years of alimony.
After these guidelines are considered, the court will determine the amount of alimony awarded based on the factors of the marriage. The largest considerations are the current ability of each spouse to provide for their own needs, their employment history or ability to earn income, and child care.
If you’re entering into a Texas divorce case, you need proper representation – especially if alimony is on the table. Contact the Law Offices of S. Dylan Pearcy today to set up an initial consultation with our team, and ensure that your case is handled with the care it deserves.