When marriage fails and divorce proceedings take place, the topic of alimony becomes a hot topic of contention.
An experienced divorce attorney can successfully help you navigate the divorce process and understand your options regarding alimony.
Alimony, also referred to spousal support and spousal maintenance, is the court-ordered financial support a person must provide for his or her ex. For couples facing divorce, alimony may be an issue to discuss with a reputable divorce lawyer.
The divorce attorneys at Hayes, Berry, White & Vanzant are well versed in the intricate process of divorce and will be happy to answer your questions concerning alimony or spousal support during or after your divorce. We encourage you to arrange a consultation with us to learn about your rights regarding alimony in Texas. Contact us online or call (940) 387-3518 today to see how we can help.
Eligibility for Alimony in Texas
Chapter 8 of the Texas Family Code outlines conditions that define eligibility for alimony in Texas. For short-term marriages, a spouse is usually not eligible for alimony. The laws pertaining to alimony in Texas allow the courts to grant spousal maintenance only to divorcing couples that were married for 10 years or longer—with one exception. If your spouse has been convicted of domestic violence, you may be eligible for spousal maintenance.
A court may order spousal maintenance if a spouse lacks sufficient property to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs, as well as the following instances:
- Family Violence – The spouse who is to pay the maintenance has been found guilty or placed on community supervision for a charge of family violence within two years before the divorce is filed or while the divorce is pending;
- Disability of a Spouse – The spouse seeking maintenance is unable to earn sufficient income to meet the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs due to an incapacitating physical or mental disability;
- Disability of a Child – The spouse seeking maintenance of a child born of the marriage who requires substantial care and supervision due to a physical or mental disability that prevents the spouse from earning sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs; or
- Has been married for 10 years or longer and lacks sufficient property to provide for the spouse’s minimal needs.
Duration of Spousal Maintenance
An important question to ask is, “How long will spousal maintenance be paid?” The court must limit the duration of the support payments to the shortest reasonable period that allows the spouse to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs.
There are three exceptions to this general rule:
- Physical or Mental Disabilities – If the spouse’s ability to meet the spouse’s minimum needs is totally or substantially diminished due to the spouse or child disability, the court is not required to limit the length of time the alimony will be paid;
Family Violence – The duration of the spousal maintenance may not exceed five years; or
- Married 10 Years or Longer – If the spouse is eligible for maintenance due to the length of the marriage, the duration may not exceed the following:
- Married 10 to 20 years – The duration is limited to five years;
- Married 20 to 30 years – The duration is limited to seven years; and
- Married 30 or more years – The duration is limited to 10 years.
There are other limitations on spousal maintenance, such as a cap on the amount that can be paid per month. There are also ways that maintenance payments may be modified, changed, enforced or terminated.
Need to Speak to an Alimony Lawyer Today?
For assistance with alimony from an experienced Denton County divorce lawyer, look no further than Hayes, Berry, White & Vanzant, LLP for all of your family law needs. Contact us here or call us at (940) 387-3518 to find out how we can serve you. We offer free initial consultations!