Going through a divorce can be mentally and emotionally exhausting. A divorce can also real havoc on the finances of either, or both, parties. It is not unusual for there to be a significant disparity in income between spouses while married; however, the disparity in income is not typically important because the couple becomes one unit and, therefore, all income is shared and treated as “family” income. The thought of divorce, however, raises the very real fear that the disparity in income will continue after the divorce and will have a much more profound impact on the low-income spouse. If you are contemplating divorce in the State of Texas, and you are concerned about your financial situation post-divorce you probably want to know if your divorce lawyer can get you alimony in the divorce.
The Financial Reality of Divorce
One of the many factors that often lead people to avoid divorce is the financial impact a divorce will have on one, or both, of the parties. Studies consistently tell us that divorce frequently has a significant negative financial impact on one spouse – usually the woman, although that is very slowly changing. If there are minor children of the marriage, the spouse who ends up with custody of the children now faces the reality of raising, and supporting, those children on one income, instead of two. Although child support is intended to ensure that both parents continue to financially contribute to the care and maintenance of the children post-divorce, the reality is that even with a generous monthly child support check the parent with primary custody of the children will often struggle financially after the divorce.
Is Alimony the Solution?
If you are contemplating divorce, or have already initiated the divorce process, and you are concerned about the financial impact the divorce will have on you, alimony might be part of the solution to your dilemma. Also referred to as “spousal support,” alimony is money your ex-spouse would pay to you post-divorce for a specified period of time. Alimony is not part of the division of marital assets nor does alimony have anything to do with child support. The purpose of alimony is to provide a financial “cushion” for a limited time to a spouse after a divorce to give the spouse time to re-enter the work force or go back to school to become more competitive in the job market. Alimony is not intended to provide financial support on an going or indefinite basis.
Alimony in a Texas Divorce
Texas recently made changes to the laws relating to alimony. Today, for a spouse to be eligible for alimony, the spouse must first prove that after divorce there will not be enough property to meet his or her minimum reasonable needs. In deciding if alimony is warranted, the court will consider the property awarded to the spouse in the divorce as well as any separate property owned by the spouse. In addition to proving a need for alimony, you will also have to prove at least one of the following:
- the marriage has been for ten years or longer and the spouse made diligent efforts to either earn sufficient income or to develop necessary skills while the divorce is pending to meet his or her minimum reasonable needs; or
- the other spouse has committed family violence; or
- the requesting spouse has an incapacitating disability; or
- a child of the marriage (of any age) has a physical or mental disability that prevents the spouse who cares for and supervises the child from earning sufficient income.
If the court does award alimony, the alimony award will be for a limited amount of time. In fact, the Texas alimony laws provide for duration caps that limit the amount of time a spouse can receive alimony based on the length of the marriage and the reason for the eligibility for alimony. The amount of alimony awarded is also capped by law in Texas to the lesser of $5,000 per month or 20 percent of the payor’s monthly gross income.
Contact a Texas Divorce Lawyer
If you have additional questions or concerns about qualifying for alimony in a Texas divorce, contact an experienced Texas divorce attorney at The Law Office of Jon R. Boyd by calling 972-332-0104 to schedule your appointment today.
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