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Texas Alimony Basics

Alimony is known as spousal maintenance in Texas, and it is legally available, though there are many limitations attached to it. The idea behind alimony is to provide the former spouse with a periodic payment to make up for financial issues if one spouse was the primary financial provider for the entire family before the dissolution of the marriage. When it comes to alimony in Texas, however, you should know that there are only a couple of limited circumstances where the court will award alimony.

When a spouse has dedicated years of their life to being a home caretaker or a stay at home parent, the process of divorce can become especially difficult because they have been removed from the work force, and will have trouble receiving the same level of salary as was provided to them in their previous lifestyle. This is especially true when children are involved. Someone who is worried about being able to support themselves following a divorce should talk to an attorney in order to determine what legal options are available to them, especially pertaining to alimony and spousal maintenance. There are two limited scenarios where alimony will be awarded in Texas.

The two different circumstances that would be qualified for a judge to order spousal maintenance or alimony in a divorce are:

  • If a spouse has been convicted of committing family violence,
  • If the marriage has lasted for a period of ten years or more.

If family violence has been accused, then the date for the divorce petition must have occurred within the period of two years. Only in these two circumstances will there be any consideration for alimony. The spouse that is seeking the spousal maintenance support has to be capable of showing that he or she does not possess a sufficient enough level of resources that they can live within a reasonable parameter.

If there are children, and any child in the family has a disability that prevents the spouse from employment since they have to provide constant care, then alimony can definitely be sought. Spouses that are capable of showing their inability to earn an adequate living should also be able to receive alimony payments. Even in a situation where a judge orders that alimony be paid, there are still a number of limitations regarding what people can receive as well as what timeframe they would be able to receive the alimony payments for.

In the state of Texas, alimony payments are not allowed to exceed a period of three years unless there are physical disabilities or mental disabilities in place that prevent the spouse from being self supporting. The most money that a judge can order to be paid for the purpose of alimony is either 20% of the payer’s average monthly income, gross, or $2500, depending on which amount is the lesser amount. Alimony statutes in Texas pose a number of challenges that need to be overcome, meaning that working with an attorney is often the best way to have your spousal maintenance needs met.

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