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Can I get alimony in Texas?

An article in Texas Lawyer magazine recent addressed a question that many people going through divorce in the state have: Can I get alimony?

As many people have heard, Texas is unlike most other states in that it does not have traditional alimony laws on the books.

But as the Texas Lawyer article explained, that does not mean that alimony-type payments cannot exist in the state. 

In fact, there are two ways in which post-divorce support payments can exist:

Alimony can exist through a contract. The parties can agree to contractual alimony under specific conditions, according to the IRS. However, this is only if the couple agrees, the court cannot order one spouse to pay the other alimony.

This type of alimony cannot be part of the property settlement and the cash payments must be made according to a divorce decree or a contract that was part of the divorce. In order for the payments to be considered contractual alimony, they also must cease when the paying spouse dies.

Spousal maintenance can be ordered under Texas Family Code Chapter 8. In limited circumstances, the court has the authority to order spousal maintenance with or without the agreement of the parties if the receiving spouse would otherwise lack sufficient funds to provide for his or her minimum reasonable needs.

One of the following conditions must also be met as well:

  • The paying spouse has committed domestic violence against a member of the family within the past two years;
  • The receiving spouse has a physical or mental disability that prevents him or her from providing for himself or herself;
  • The marriage was at least 10 years, and the receiving spouse lacks the ability to provide for him or herself; or
  • The spouse seeking support is the custodial parent of a disabled child of the marriage.

See the Texas Lawyer article for an in-depth discussion on both types of post-divorce support payments, or talk to an experienced family law attorney in your area.

Attorneys at one of our firm’s three locations in the Houston area would be happy to discuss the matter with you anytime.

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