Is Texas An Alimony State?

Texas is an alimony state but the courts tend to apply limiting criteria when determining alimony.  Alimony in Texas should not be confused with spousal support, which is support that is usually awarded during the divorce process.

SPOUSAL SUPPORT TEXAS

Alimony is actually referred to as spousal maintenance and it lasts long-term, sometimes even after the divorce is finalized.

The reason why people sometimes wonder whether Texas is an alimony state is because it was the last state to enact a spousal maintenance statute in 1995.

Getting “Alimony” in Texas

TEMPORARY SPOUSAL SUPPORT IN TEXAS

You don’t just automatically qualify for spousal support or alimony in Texas.  There are restrictions in place which make alimony hard to obtain. The reason for this is that in Texas, the statute was adopted to provide spousal maintenance as a temporary support for a spouse that cannot support themselves.  It is also for a spouse whose assets are not enough to meet reasonable expenses or needs.

In addition, under subsection 3, alimony is meant for spouses who gave up their jobs or education opportunities to maintain and care for the children and the marital home.  These spouses’ skills must also not be current during the time of divorce, which means they may not be able to transition into the workforce after divorce.

Requirements to Qualify for Alimony

 Generally you qualify for spousal maintenance in the following circumstances:

  • Your spouse is convicted of committing family violence against you or your child, during the divorce process or two years before the divorce action was filed
  • You and your spouse were married for at least 10 years, you are seeking support because you cannot provide for basic needs
  • You as the spouse seeking support is mentally or physically disabled which makes you unable to earn enough to provide basic needs
  • You are seeking support because you have custody of a child who requires special care and supervision because of physical and mental disability.  This must also be making it difficult for you to earn enough income to provide basic needs

To calculate the 10 year duration for alimony is add up the number of years from the date of marriage to the date when the divorce was finalized.

Time Limit and Amount of Alimony

In Texas, alimony is mostly limited to a maximum of 3 years.  The payments are made every month and the total monthly payment cannot exceed $2,500. The payments will be made for a time period the court considers enough for the spouse receiving payment to develop appropriate skills, or find appropriate employment. Appropriate employment in this case is employment that allows that spouse to provide the basic needs, or enough time to develop appropriate skills. The issue that normally arises in these cases is defining the minimum reasonable needs of the spouse receiving support.

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