Alimony in Texas is handled differently than it is in many other states. There are several factors that go into determining whether a spouse is eligible to receive any type of spousal maintenance and if so, how much he or she will receive. Here’s what you need to know.
Determining Whether an Individual Qualifies for Spousal Maintenance
The first step to calculating alimony payments in Texas is to determine whether an individual qualifies for alimony. In many cases, alimony cannot be awarded in any amount, simply because the individual did not meet the criteria for spousal maintenance. In addition, alimony in Texas does have a cap of either $5000 or 20% or less of the paying spouse’s gross income. This does not mean that you will get or pay that maximum. The following factors are used to determine if alimony itself will be awarded:
- The spouse seeking alimony does not have enough property or assets to provide for his or her basic needs
- A spouse committed an act of family violence against their spouse or a child during the marriage and the violence occurred within two years of the divorce petition
- The spouse seeking alimony has a mental or physical disability that prevents him or her from finding work outside the home or providing for their own basic needs
- The spouse seeking alimony has custody of the couple’s child and the child has a mental or physical disability that requires care by the custodial spouse, preventing him or her from obtaining work outside the home
A Note Regarding Spousal Support in Texas
It is somewhat difficult to be awarded alimony in Texas when no act of family violence has occurred. The spouse seeking alimony has the burden of proof, and must illustrate to the court that a spousal maintenance order is appropriate.
Factors Used in Calculating Texas Alimony
There are number of factors that are used in calculating how much alimony is awarded, and there is no one single formula that is used for every case. Each case is unique, and the court will investigate the circumstances surrounding that case to determine the amount of alimony payments. Some factors that are taken into account include:
- How long the marriage lasted
- How much property or assets each spouse had when they married
- The assets of each spouse when the divorce is filed and the ability of each spouse to provide for themselves financially after the split
- The age of the spouse seeking alimony, as well as their employment history and if there is a need for additional training or education for the spouse seeking alimony in order to obtain gainful employment
- Whether either spouse was a homemaker during the marriage
- Whether either spouse spent household funds in excess, or fraudulently concealed or destroyed property owned by both spouses
- Whether the paying spouse will also be making child support payments and after those payments, whether the paying spouse has a reasonable amount of income to contribute to alimony payments while still providing for his or her own needs
- If one spouse significantly contributed to the education or employment of the other spouse
Working with a Texas Alimony Lawyer
If you are going through a divorce in Texas, it is crucial that you discuss alimony with a skilled attorney. A Texas alimony lawyer can help you gather evidence needed to support your case, and will work towards a resolution that is in your best interest and the best interest of your loved ones. Contact the Bourlon Law Firm today at (361) 289-6040.