The truth about alimony and divorce in Texas
A recent article in Forbes highlights the fact that alimony or maintenance awards are becoming much less common after divorce.
The idea of getting or being required to pay alimony after a divorce is finalized has changed in recent years. The changes are catching many by surprise, as recently highlighted in an article published by Forbes. In this piece, the author notes many are “shocked to learn” of the new reality: a spouse can no longer assume that alimony will be awarded. Gone are the days of spouses remaining at home to care for the children and counting on an alimony award in the event of a divorce. Instead, according to the article in Forbes, judges frequently expect the spouse to return to the workforce.
In fact, it appears many states, including Texas, are rarely awarding alimony payments. Those who are able to receive an alimony award need to meet a variety of requirements and prove that their situation warrants the award.
Alimony law in Texas
Alimony provided after a divorce is generally referred to as maintenance in Texas law. This legal term is used to refer to periodic payments from the future income of one spouse to support the other after the divorce is finalized. State law allows the award of maintenance in limited situations. Examples of eligibility under state law include:
Presence of incapacitating physical or mental disability
Marriage lasting 10 or more years and spouse lacks ability to earn sufficient income to meet minimum reasonable needs
Presence of a child that requires substantial care and personal supervision due to an incapacitating physical or mental disability
If the court decides that a spouse is eligible for maintenance, a variety of factors will be reviewed to determine the amount of the award. These factors include the education and employment skills of the spouses and the time that may be needed to gain training or education to find suitable employment. In some cases, judges offer maintenance with a scheduled end date. This is designed to help a spouse get the training needed to find a career after the marriage has ended.
Importance of legal counsel
It is important to note that Texas state law generally presumes that maintenance is not warranted. As a result, anyone seeking maintenance must prove that they need payment.
Whether attempting to establish a need for alimony or to ensure that an ordered payment is reasonable in both amount and duration, it is wise to seek the counsel of an experienced Texas divorce attorney. This legal professional can review the details of your case and work to better ensure you receive a more favorable settlement.