Going through a divorce is a difficult process filled with emotion and, in many cases, considerable tension. Determining how to divide your marital property and how to resolve issues related to your finances can create strong disagreement between soon-to-be-former spouses. One of the factors that has to be decided in a divorce is alimony: who will be paid alimony, and how much they will receive.
What is Alimony?
Alimony—or, legally speaking, maintenance—is a payment that is made by one former spouse to another former spouse after a divorce. The intention of alimony is to help a spouse who may have less financial means than the other spouse maintain their “minimum reasonable needs” to which they were accustomed during the marriage.
Texas law states that this maintenance shall be paid monthly, and cannot exceed $5,000 or 20% of the paying spouse’s gross income per month, whichever is less.
A number of factors are considered when determining the amount of spousal maintenance to be paid, including the former spouses’ relative earning potentials, the duration of the marriage, and the responsibility each had in the breakdown of the marriage. In certain cases where each spouse has considerable assets or receives considerable and equal property during the divorce, neither spouse may be obligated to pay the other.
How Long Does Alimony Last in Texas?
Texas divorce law also stipulates the duration of spousal maintenance orders. There are many factors that affect whether a spouse is entitled to alimony, and an experienced divorce attorney in Texas can explain whether these factors apply to you. However, generally speaking, the law places the following limits on the duration of spousal maintenance:
- No more than five years after the date of the divorce order if the marriage lasted for at least 10 years but no more than 20
- No more than seven years after the date of the divorce order if the marriage lasted at least 20 years but no more than 30
- No more than 10 years after the date of the divorce order if the marriage lasted at least 30 years
The idea is that the maintenance should not last indefinitely, but should instead provide for the receiving spouse while they work to increase their earning potential to the point where they are able to care for their own needs independently. There are exceptions to this as well, though, particularly in instances in which the spouse receiving support payments is caring for a baby or young child that prevents them from working.
There is another exception if the spouse who is seeking to be paid maintenance cannot earn income to satisfy their minimum reasonable needs because they are incapacitated due to a physical or mental disability or is the primary parent caring for a shared child who has severe mental or physical disability which prevents the primary parent from being able to earn income. In those instances, the paying spouse would be ordered to pay maintenance for as long as those circumstances persist.
How Could An Attorney Help Me with My Alimony Case?
If you are involved in a divorce in Texas, the divorce lawyers at Hargrave Law can protect your rights help you achieve the outcome you require. We are prepared to negotiate on your behalf, secure favorable alimony terms, and then see that those terms are met should your former spouse refuse to abide by them.
Contact Earl Hargrave
At Hargrave Law, we have years of experience helping people who are going through divorces get the favorable spousal support terms that they deserve. Call our Bedford, TX divorce lawyers today at 817-282-0679 or contact us online so we can review your case.