Under Texas law, alimony, which is referred to as “maintenance”, means an award in a suit for dissolution of a marriage of periodic payments from the future income of one spouse for the support of the other spouse. These payments are usually meant to help one spouse (typically the non-primary earner) transfer out of the marriage. They are separate from any payments made for child support due to the nature of the child custody arrangement.
How Do You Qualify for Alimony?
Generally, under Texas law, alimony will only be required where there is a financial need demonstrated by one of the former spouses. Therefore, a court in Texas will consider your income and expenses when determining whether you qualify for alimony. There are many grounds for divorce in Texas that can also impact the amount and length for which you are entitled to receive alimony.
How Much Alimony Can You Receive?
Texas imposes maximum amounts for alimony payments. Under the statutes, a court may not order maintenance that requires monthly payments of more than $5,000 or 20 percent of the paying spouse’s average monthly gross income (whichever is less). Calculating your former spouse’s gross income can be complicated and there are certain types of income (such as social security) that are not included in the calculation. This is one of the many reasons that it is so important to have an experienced alimony and divorce lawyer working for you throughout the process.
How Long Does Alimony Last?
Texas law schedules the amount and the length of maximum alimony payments depending on the length of marriage. Under Texas law, a court is statutorily limited as to the length maintenance can be required.
- An order for maintenance may not be for more than five years, if the spouses were married for less than 10 years.
- If the spouses were married to each other for at least 10 years but not more than 20 years, then the maintenance may not last longer than seven years.
- If the spouses were married to each other for at least 20 years but not more than 30 years or where there are physical or mental disabilities present, then the duration shall be the shortest reasonable period.
How Do You Petition for Alimony?
A petition for alimony can be done at any time but is generally done at the time of a divorce filing. You might be eligible to receive alimony payments throughout the divorce process and you should discuss the matter with your lawyer.
Your former souse may also request that alimony payments be modified. There is a very specific process to responding to such requests and your Texas alimony lawyer can work with you to ensure that receive the proper amount of alimony.
Where Can You Find the Right Lawyer?
If you are having trouble receiving your due alimony payments or want to know what steps you should take to receive alimony, then contact a local Texas family lawyer today to discuss your legal rights and options under Texas law.