Divorce can be difficult financially for one or both parties involved in the case. When it comes to the issue of alimony—also known as spousal maintenance or spousal support—the party who wants to seek it can be concerned about eligibility, and the party who would be responsible for paying it can be concerned about their own ability to thrive financially after the divorce if there is a significant spousal support obligation. Getting control of your finances after divorce can be essential to recovering financially and emotionally after your case, according to an article in Psychology Today. Yet for some Texans, it may feel as though alimony is the only way to allow for this type of financial recovery or that alimony could substantially hinder any kind of financial recovery.
Many states have relatively similar laws concerning the award of spousal maintenance after a divorce based on need, as the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts (IDFA) explains. Yet Texas has a much narrower route to alimony under the Texas Family Code. Our experienced Texas divorce attorneys can discuss the particular facts of your case in more detail with you, but in the meantime, the following are top facts about alimony in Texas.
Alimony is Known as Spousal Maintenance Under the Texas Family Code
Under the Texas Family Code, the term “alimony” does not appear in relation to the award of money from one spouse to the other during or after a divorce. Instead, the Texas Family Code uses the term “maintenance,” and it defines maintenance as “an award in a suit for dissolution of a marriage of periodic payments from the future income of one spouse for the support of the other spouse.
Eligibility for Maintenance is Limited
While spousal maintenance is frequently awarded in other states, eligibility for maintenance is much more limited in Texas. According to the Texas Family Code, the following are the only situations in which a court will award maintenance to be paid to one spouse by the other spouse:
- Spouse who is being asked to pay maintenance was convicted of a criminal offense tied to family violence or received deferred adjudication for such an offense, which was committed during the marriage against either the spouse or one of the children, and occurred within two years prior to the divorce filing;
- Spouse who is seeking maintenance cannot earn a sufficient income to provide for his or her reasonable needs due to an incapacitating physical or mental disability;
- Spouse who is seeking maintenance was married to the other spouse for at least 10 years and does not have the ability to earn an income that is sufficient to provide for his or her reasonable needs; or
- Spouse who is seeking maintenance is the custodian for a child from the marriage (a minor or an adult) who “requires substantial care and personal supervision because of a physical or mental disability that prevents the spouse from earning sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs.”
Courts Look at Various Factors in Determining the Amount and Duration of Maintenance
If the court does decide that maintenance is appropriate because one of the above situations is true of the case, then the Texas Family Code lists a wide variety of factors for the court to use in determining the appropriate amount, nature, and duration of the alimony payments. The court can consider all relevant factors.
Contact Our Bedford, Texas Divorce Lawyers
Do you have questions or concerns about alimony or spousal maintenance in Texas? An experienced Texas alimony lawyer can speak with you today. Contact Hargrave Law, PC to learn more about how we can assist you.