Alimony/Spousal Support Lawyers in Austin
What is the Purpose of Spousal Support?
One of the most contested issues in a divorce is alimony, also known as spousal maintenance. Whether you are receiving alimony or are the one paying it, an experienced attorney can help make sure that the fair amount of financial support is requested in your divorce.
With both personal and professional experience, Attorneys Hannah Hembree Bell understands what it takes to successfully litigate or negotiate divorce cases where spousal maintenance is involved. As your legal advocate, we will walk you through all the aspects of your case to protect your best interests.
Is There Alimony in Texas?
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. Texas became the last state to enact spousal maintenance in 1995.
Alimony is a legal term that refers to the ongoing financial support provided by one spouse to the other following divorce. The purpose of alimony is to ensure the financial well-being of a spouse who was financially dependent during the marriage and lacks the ability to provide for themselves, either immediately or indefinitely after the divorce.
In the state of Texas, an alimony court order is referred to as spousal maintenance.
Qualifying for Alimony in Texas
You do not just automatically qualify for spousal support or alimony in Texas. There are restrictions in place which can make alimony hard to obtain.
Spousal maintenance may be ordered when a divorcing spouse does not have the financial means to meet basic needs, as long as the spouse meets the following qualifying circumstances:
- A physical or mental disability prevents the spouse from working
- The couple was married for 10 years or longer
- The one seeking spousal maintenance has a child from the marriage who requires supervision or special care due to a physical or mental disability
- The spouse seeking support (or his or her child) was physically abused within two years of filing for divorce or during the divorce process
Time Limit & 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 period the court considers enough for the spouse receiving payment to develop appropriate skills or find appropriate employment. Appropriate employment in this case provides for basic needs, or it gives 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.
Spousal maintenance is one of the most common points of disagreement among those facing a divorce. If you and your spouse are having difficulty arriving at an agreement on the amount of alimony that should be paid each month, our experienced Austin alimony lawyer is here to provide you with reliable legal counsel, help ensure that your rights are protected, and assist you in attaining the outcome you deserve.