Alimony in Texas is legally known as “spousal maintenance”. Regardless of what you call it, the concept is the same—it is a payment from one spouse to another that arises out of a divorce proceeding. How long these payments will last depends on the facts of your unique situation.
Alimony is meant to be a temporary solution to support one spouse after a divorce. It accounts for the gap in income between the couple. The funds are often used by one spouse to get accustomed to living life on one income. Especially when they have significantly lower income compared to the other spouse, have been out of work for some time, or need to go back to school to be employable.
The circumstances in which the Court would award alimony are very limited. Because Texas is a community property state, any income or assets that the couple acquires during their marriage is considered part of the marital estate. That means that dividing assets in a Texas divorce is often very close to being equal. Alimony acts as a way to also “equalize” the income of the couple.
The spouse requesting alimony must show that they cannot afford to meet their minimum needs based on their current income. They must also show evidence of other exceptional circumstances as well. Examples include:
Qualifications for alimony in Texas are strict, and it is not always a given.
There are several “tiers” that apply to spousal maintenance awards.
Most alimony awards will not be longer than ten years. That is unless the couple has a disabled child and the underlying requirements for alimony continue to exist. Then, the duration of the alimony award may be indefinite.
Regardless of whether you are requesting alimony or your previous spouse is asking you to pay it, having an experienced Texas family law attorney like Lauren Cain on your side can be a big help to address these complicated legal issues.