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Qualifications for Receiving Alimony in Texas image

If you are considering a divorce in Texas, you may wonder what qualifies a spouse for alimony or spousal maintenance. You might be concerned about how you will support yourself if you are no longer married and whether alimony could supplement your income.

What Factors Will the Court Examine Before Ordering Alimony?

The court is responsible for determining whether you are eligible to receive spousal support payments. First, it will examine whether you lack sufficient property to provide for your minimum reasonable needs and whether one of the following circumstances is true:

  • Your ex-spouse was convicted or received deferred adjudication for a criminal act of violence against you or your child while the divorce was pending or during the two years before you filed suit.
  • You are unable to earn sufficient income due to a physical or mental disability, you have been married for at least 10 years, or you have to care for a child with physical or mental disabilities.

Once your initial eligibility is confirmed, the court will decide whether to award alimony. It will examine the following factors:

  • The educational background of the spouses
  • The requesting spouse’s age
  • The length of the marriage
  • The spouses’ employment history
  • Whether any infidelity occurred
  • The requesting spouse’s contribution to the family as a homemaker
  • The requesting spouse’s efforts to seek employment

How Is Alimony Calculated?

Assuming you’re eligible to receive alimony because you satisfy the above factors, the court will calculate the amount and duration of monthly alimony payments.

To calculate alimony, the court will divide your former spouse’s annual gross income by 12 to determine their monthly gross income. Then, it will multiply that number by 0.2. If that amount is less than $5,000, that is the monthly amount of alimony you will receive. If the amount is more than $5,000, your alimony payment will be $5,000 each month.

What Is the Amount and Frequency of Alimony?

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The amount of alimony you can receive is capped under Texas law. Specifically, a court can only order one spouse to pay the lesser of $5,000 or 20 percent of their gross monthly income. To figure out how much you will have to pay in alimony or how much you will receive, the court will perform the calculation referenced above. Once it has the monthly gross income of the payor spouse, it will determine whether you will receive the statutory cap of $5,000 or an amount less than that, depending on your spouse’s income.

For example, if a spouse earns $144,000 a year, the calculation would be $144,000 divided by 12, or $12,000 per month. This multiplied by 0.2 is $2,400 per month. Because this amount is less than $5,000, the alimony obligation would be $2,400 per month. If your spouse earns more money, such as $400,000, their monthly income would be $33,333.33. This would yield a monthly gross alimony obligation of $6,666.66. Because that exceeds the $5,000 threshold, your payment would be $5,000.

Texas law also provides specific timelines for the duration of alimony payments:

  • Five Years – A court can order alimony for five years if the marriage lasted less than 10 years and other eligibility factors warrant an order, or if the marriage lasted at least 10 years but not more than 20 years.
  • Seven Years – Alimony may be awarded if the spouses were married for at least 20 years but less than 30 years.
  • 10 years – The court can order payments for 10 years only if the spouses have been married for 30 years or more.

Can I Get Alimony After Two Years of Marriage?

You are eligible for alimony for up to five years if you were married for less than 10 years, provided you meet the general requirements to receive spousal maintenance payments under Texas law.

Contact a Texas Family Law Attorney Today

Determining your eligibility for alimony payments can be complicated, particularly if you don’t fully understand your former spouse’s finances and income or if there was financial fraud during your marriage. Working with a skilled divorce attorney can help improve your likelihood of receiving the alimony you need.

At Adams Law Firm, our family law attorneys have extensive experience handling Texas divorce proceedings, including matters related to child custody, property division, and alimony. If you want to learn more about the divorce process and whether you qualify for monthly alimony payments, contact Adams Law Firm at (281) 391-9237 today to get started with your case.

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