The concept of fairness is at the heart of most Texas alimony decisions. Alimony, which is also known as spousal support or spousal maintenance, is money paid by one spouse to another for support after divorce. If you are currently concerned about having to make alimony payments, there are a few things you should know.
Texas courts would like to avoid situations in which long-married spouses are left to fend for themselves without sufficient property or employment skills. The first step in identifying whether you will be required to pay spousal support is determining if your spouse is eligible. Under Texas law, a spouse must request the support and show that he or she has a legitimate need.
Some examples that might convince a court to grant the request:
-- The paying spouse either has been convicted or received deferred adjudication for an act of family violence. The act of family violence is also required to have been committed either within two years prior of the divorce filing or while the divorce action was pending.
-- Requesting spouses must demonstrate the court that they have some limitation that prevents them from earning sufficient income to meet their minimum reasonable needs. Additionally, the requesting spouse has to have been married to the other spouse for at least 10 years. Generally, the limitation that prevents the spouse from meeting his or her minimum needs must be due to some physical or mental disability or due to having to care for a special needs child.
It is important for you to remember that your attorney can challenge the request for alimony on your behalf. Evidence of marital misconduct such as adultery by your spouse may invalidate his or her claim to support. Additionally, a court may also consider whether your spouse engaged in concealing his or her wealth from the court in an effort to obtain spousal support.
This is not a complete listing of every possible challenge to an alimony request. Your Texas family law attorney can review the particular facts of your case and advise you on the best practices for obtaining a favorable outcome.
Source: Statutes of the Texas State Legislature, "Subchapter B. Spousal maintenance. Section 8.051. Eligibility for maintenance" accessed Jan. 28, 2015