Houston Alimony Information
Provided by Houston Divorce Attorneys
In 2012, Texas law regarding spousal support (also called maintenance or alimony) changed drastically. Individuals considering divorce or who have recently initiated divorce proceedings should be aware of how this law change will affect them.
There are two main eligibility requirements to receive maintenance or alimony in Texas:
- The first requirement is that the spouse seeking maintenance will lack sufficient property, including the spouse’s separate property, on dissolution of the marriage to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs.
- The second requirement, in most divorces, is that the parties have been married to each other for 10 years or longer and the spouse seeking support lacks the ability to earn sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs.
Texas law has certain provisions for:
- Spouses who have been the victim of domestic violence and whose abusive spouses been successfully prosecuted, or
- Parents who are the custodians of a child of the marriage who requires substantial care and personal supervision because of a physical or mental disability that prevents a spouse from earning sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs.
Factors in the Court’s Decision
Texas courts may consider any of a number of factors in determining spousal maintenance or alimony, including:
- The education of the parties
- The employment skills of the parties
- The time necessary to obtain education and training to earn income
- The age, employment history, earning ability, and physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance or alimony
- The acts of the either spouse in excessive or abnormal spending, or fraudulent disposition of property
- The property brought into the marriage
- The contribution of a spouse as a homemaker
- The contribution by one spouse to the education, training, or increased earning power of the other party
- The marital misconduct, including adultery and cruel treatment by either spouse
- Several other miscellaneous factors
Limitations on Maintenance or Alimony
As a general rule, maintenance or alimony is limited to a maximum of:
- 5 years if the spouses were married for at least 10 years but not more than 20 years
- 7 years if the parties were married for at least 20 years but less 30 years
- 10 years if the spouses were married more than 30 years.
The general rule is that the maintenance or alimony is limited to either 20% of the obligor’s gross income or $5,000.00 per month, whichever is less, and the recipient’s minimum reasonable needs.
What You Must Show
A spouse seeking maintenance or alimony must show that he or she has made a diligent effort to either earn enough income to take care of his or her minimum reasonable needs or to develop the necessary skills to provide for his or her minimum reasonable needs.
The family court has a duty to limit the duration of the maintenance or alimony to the shortest reasonable period. Once alimony or maintenance begins, the court can alter it in the future.
Whether you are seeking alimony in your divorce or your spouse is demanding it, experienced legal counsel is important. Contact our Houston divorce lawyers today to discuss your options with regard to alimony in Texas.