Alimony refers to the payments a person makes to their partner to support their basic expenses, during or after divorce. The alimony is either mutually agreed upon by both the spouses, or decided by the court. A court order for alimony is referred to as “spousal maintenance”. In addition to deciding the amount, the court also decides when and for how long the partner has to pay the alimony. The divorce lawyers in Dallas, Texas and other parts of the US offer comprehensive assistance to separating couples and strive to get a just verdict. Those who are going through a separation must have a basic understanding of divorce alimony laws in Texas. Therefore, to help, in this blog, we present an overview of what the process and its finer lines.
A person requesting divorce alimony in Texas needs to meet certain eligibility criteria to receive the support. The partner seeking alimony should not possess any property once the divorce is final. In such cases, court may order the other partner to provide for the minimum reasonable needs of their ex-spouse. Additionally, one of the following conditions must apply:
1. The partner seeking support doesn’t have enough income to meet the basic needs and:
- Is suffering from a physical or mental disability.
- Has been in the union for ten years or longer.
- Has custody of a child who requires special care and guidance due to a mental or physical disability.
2. The paying party must be convicted of committing family violence against the other partner or child:
- During the marriage (within two years prior filing for divorce)
- During the divorce proceedings
Eligibility to receive post-divorce alimony doesn’t guarantee spousal maintenance. After the eligibility is established, the family court has to consider numerous factors that help determine the amount of support required by the partner seeking alimony and for how long. The court looks at:
- Age of the requesting spouse
- Duration of the marriage
- Educational background
- Employment history
- Efforts to find employment
There’s an upper cap on the monthly alimony that a partner is entitled to, which cannot exceed $5,000 or 20 percent of the paying partner’s average monthly gross income, whichever is less. The partner paying alimony support has the liberty to deduct the monthly amount as tax. This is because the monthly alimony, for the receiving partner, is similar to income and as per law is taxable.
Term and Conditions
Once it is established that the partner seeking alimony will receive it, the court has to decide the term of the maintenance. For a partner requiring alimony due to a physical or mental disability, or to take care of a child with a physical or mental disability, the support can carry on for as long as the conditions exist. Having said that, family courts always try to limit the order to the shortest reasonable time. The court may hold periodic hearings to ensure there’s no change in circumstances.
According to Texas divorce alimony law, all alimony orders are time-bound. Therefore, a court order for spousal maintenance cannot last longer than:
- 5 years, if the couple were together for less than 10 years and the paying partner committed an act of family violence.
- 5 years, if the couple were together for more than 10 years but less than 20 years.
- 7 years, if the couple were together for over 20 years but less than 30 years.
- 10 years, if the couple were together for over 30 years.
The order for divorce alimony ends before its termination in case:
- One of the partners dies.
- The partner receiving alimony remarries.
- The partner receiving alimony is in a romantic or live-in relationship with another person.
Presumption Against an Order
Apart from cases where divorce is filed owing to family violence, the court initially does not support divorce alimony. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the divorce attorney of the partner seeking alimony to convince the court that their client has made efforts to earn a regular income to meet daily requirements during divorce proceedings.
When it comes to divorce alimony laws in Texas, it would be safe to say this blog post unveils just the tip of the iceberg. If you wish to get detailed information on spousal support, it is important to consult a Dallas divorce attorney. 123 Divorce Company is a team of widely experienced divorce lawyers in Dallas, Texas, with proven competence and expertise. To learn more, get in touch with us by calling 214.599.9979, or fill out our contact form and we will get back to you, shortly.