What Is the Spousal Support Law in Texas?
In Texas, you’re within your legal rights to request spousal support in addition to child support for the kids, but only if the marriage lasted at least 10 years. However, there are some exemptions to that timeframe. For example, if your spouse was convicted of domestic violence within two years of your petition, you may be eligible for spousal support under this law. In any case, you must be able to show that you don’t have the resources to meet your minimum needs, including food and housing.
The spousal maintenance recipient is referred to as the “obligee” in Texas, while the spouse who’s ordered to make alimony payments is called the obligor. In many divorce cases, the judge will issue a writ of withholding. This order ensures that the payer’s employer garnishes their paycheck for the amount awarded. This money is then sent to the obligee.
How Is Spousal Support Calculated in Texas?
Divorce is a dramatic life event. It’s emotionally demanding and financially stressful, even if it’s for the best. Because this process can take a toll on your finances, judges in Texas are permitted to award you or your partner spousal support. But how is it calculated, and is it different from how the courts calculate child support? According to state law, spousal maintenance payments can’t exceed $5,000 per month. However, if that amount is more than 20% of your average monthly income, it could be less. For example, if you make $10,000 a month, your alimony payment won’t exceed $2,000.
Texas law also limits how long you can collect or have to pay spousal support. It can run from five years if you’ve been married a decade, seven years if you were married 20 years, or up to 10 years if you were married for longer than 30 years. However, if the receiving spouse is disabled and isn’t able to work, then the arrangement could be permanent.
Who May Be Eligible To Receive Spousal Support in Texas?
Either party can request maintenance payments. However, you won’t get them automatically. In some cases, an alimony petition can be challenging to win, especially if you’re handling your divorce alone. The court will first determine if you or your spouse have enough property, income, or assets to satisfactorily cover living expenses. Then, there are several more conditions you must meet to qualify for spousal support, such as:
- Domestic violence: Was the paying spouse convicted of domestic violence against the payee or children within the last two years?
- Disability: Does the obligee suffer from a physical or mental disability that prevents them from earning enough money for self-sufficiency?
- Child custody: Will the requesting spouse have custody of a disabled child whose care makes it impossible for the parent to work?
- Dependency: Did the person asking for alimony become dependent on their partner to the point where they’ll find it difficult to get a job and earn a suitable income?
The answers to questions such as these are the starting point. With the right advice and insight, you’ll understand whether you or your partner is eligible to receive spousal support.
What Other Factors Affect Spousal Support?
There are other circumstances that your judge will take into consideration when deciding whether to grant spousal support, including:
The Duration of the Marriage
To be eligible for spousal maintenance in Texas, you must be married for at least 10 years. Due to this long-term relationship, one partner is likely more financially dependent than the other, and that’s an essential consideration for the judge when deciding on matters such as alimony.
Financial resources are also a primary factor. The court will want to know how much the petitioner earns right now and how much they’ll need to bring in every month to take care of the household, including the kids. The judge will also consider the obligor’s ability to meet the financial obligations of both parties.
Education and Training
A spouse may need temporary support while they acquire education, employable skills, or training. In addition, some courts look favorably on circumstances where you supported your spouse through their education, and now you have the right to financial compensation so you can pursue yours.
Age and Health
The requesting spouse’s age, physical condition, and emotional health are also considered when the courts decide on support. The older a person is and the more health issues they face, the greater the chance they’ll secure an alimony award.
Do You Need To Hire a Spousal Support Attorney?
Family law is our sole focus at Balekian Hayes, PLLC. Founded by Kris Balekian Hayes, our attorneys are certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, which means you can count on their expertise. We combine honest advice, expert negotiation skills, and extensive litigation experience to help resolve your divorce efficiently. We’ll work to ensure the spousal support in your case is the highest amount and longest term because you’re always our top priority. So, whether you need spousal support to make ends meet or you can’t agree on child custody matters, make sure you have us in your corner.
When you’re going through a divorce, finances are a serious concern. Whether you expect your spouse to ask for maintenance or you’re the one who needs assistance making ends meet, it’s important to know the ins and outs of Texas law. You need expert legal advice to help you navigate the courtroom and our state’s many legal regulations. So, come talk with us at our Dallas office. The first step is to schedule a consultation so we can help you understand spousal support and all the other potential factors that may surface during your divorce.