Spousal support, also known as spousal maintenance or alimony, is an incredibly old practice. These days, it’s become rarer as couples work to contribute two incomes to the household prior to the divorce. In some cases, however, spousal support may be necessary if one of the spouses quit their job to work as a full-time parent or the divorcing spouses are already retired. If you think you need spousal support, you should consider whether or not the court will consider it necessary before you consider how much the alimony is likely to be.
In Texas, family law courts have two types of spousal support—court ordered and contractual. Court ordered spousal support will be alimony one spouse will be ordered to pay the other involuntarily. The payments can be temporary, short-term, or long-term, depending on the case. Contractual maintenance is voluntary and is paid according to an agreement between the spouses. If you think your spouse will be amenable to contractual maintenance, you both can calculate together how much you think you will need following the divorce.
If your wife or husband doesn’t agree to contractual maintenance, the court will take several factors into account before deciding whether or not to award you spousal support and how much you should receive. Eligibility requirements in the state will obligate you to prove there will not be enough property to meet your minimum reasonable needs after the divorce. You must also prove at least one of the following:
- The marriage lasted 10 years or longer, and you made efforts to earn sufficient income or develop necessary skills while the divorce is pending
- The other spouse has committed domestic violence
- You have an incapacitating disability
- Your child has a physical or mental disability that prevents you from earning a sufficient income
If a judge decides you are eligible for spousal support, he or she will decide on how much you should get and for how long. In most cases, the upper limit of the amount is the difference between your monthly expenses and your income. However, the judge will also consider the following factors:
- Each spouse’s financial resources after the divorce
- How child support affects both spouses’ abilities to pay their bills
- One spouse’s contribution to another’s education, training, or increased earning power
- Each spouse’s education level and employment skills
- How long it would take for you to get education and training to improve your earning power
- Your age, employment history, earning ability, and physical and emotional condition
- Whether either spouse spent community funds inappropriately during the marriage
- Homemaker contributions
- Domestic violence
- Marital misconduct of either spouse
Likewise, the court isn’t able to set spousal support above $5,000 per month or 20% of the paying spouse’s average monthly gross income (whichever is lower). The court will also usually limit spousal support to the shortest reasonable time that allows the receiving spouse to earn enough per month to meet monthly expenses unless you have a mental or physical disability.
If you’re concerned about whether or not you’ll get spousal support after the divorce, discuss the details of your case with an experienced Katy divorce attorney. Adams Law Firm has more than 35 years of family law experience to offer your case. Our lawyers are ready to provide you with skilled and compassionate legal advocacy and advice. We understand this may be a difficult and emotional time for you and your family, so we will do our best to help you reach your goals. Let us see what we can do for you.