Divorce often leaves one spouse in a stronger financial position than the other. When this happens, the spouse who ends up with fewer financial resources may be entitled to receive alimony (referred to as “spousal maintenance” in Texas).
Spousal maintenance is not part of the asset division phase of divorce, nor is it related to child support. Child support payments are supposed to go toward covering the costs associated with raising kids. Spousal support payments, on the other hand, go toward helping the recipient spouse directly.
Contractual Alimony and Court-Ordered Alimony
Spousal support payments can become part of a Texas divorce in one of two ways. First, there is “contractual alimony,” which is an amount the parties negotiate and agree to volunteer as part of a settlement or a prenuptial agreement.
Second, and more common, is court-ordered alimony. This is an amount the judge orders one spouse to pay to the other for a given amount of time.
Qualifying for Court-Ordered Spousal Support
To be eligible to receive spousal maintenance, you must prove that divorce will leave you without enough property to meet your minimum reasonable needs. As weve written about before, what is reasonable depends on your circumstances. It depends on the standard of living you had during marriage and various other factors.
If a spouse succeeds in showing that they need support to meet their reasonable needs, then the spouse will also need to prove at least one of the following:
- The marriage lasted at least 10 years and the spouse has made diligent efforts to earn sufficient income or gain the necessary job skills to earn more
- The other spouse committed domestic violence
- The recipient spouse has a disability that arose during the marriage
- The recipient spouse cares for a child of the marriage who is disabled, which prevents the spouse from working enough to earn sufficient income
How Much Spousal Support Will I Receive?
If you and your spouse agreed to contractual alimony, then that will be the amount you receive. If the court orders alimony, then the amount varies. There are no blanket rules that say how much you will get.
There is, however, one clear rule: the maximum possible monthly alimony award is $5,000 or 20% of the paying spouses gross income, whichever is less.
How Long Does Alimony Last?
For court-ordered alimony, the length of payments varies depending on how long the marriage lasted. Spousal maintenance will be:
- Not awarded if the marriage lasted less than 10 years
- Five years or less if the marriage lasted 10-19 years
- Seven years or less if the marriage lasted 20-29 years
- 10 years if the marriage lasted 30 years or more
Contact a Spousal Support Lawyer in Arlington
Whether youre seeking spousal support or the one obligated to pay, you can trust your case to the Arlington alimony attorneys at Schneider Law Firm, P.C. We have decades of experience fighting for fair outcomes in these matters. Get a free initial consultation with one of our team members by calling 817-799-7125 or send us a message.