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There are many hot-button issues addressed during divorce proceedings, but one of the most notorious ones is that of alimony. Alimony is paid from one spouse to the other either during or after a divorce. In Texas, alimony is referred to as “spousal maintenance” or, simply, “maintenance.” The paying or receiving of alimony can have profound impacts on the financial life of either spouse well after a divorce has been finalized. It is an important issue and one you should gain at least a familiarity with prior to going through a divorce.

The Basics of Alimony

While either spouse may request maintenance in a Texas divorce, a court will only order maintenance when the requesting spouse does not have the assets to provide for their basic needs and:

  • The payor spouse has been convicted of family violence against the spouse or their children within two years of the divorce filing or while the divorce is pending;
  • The requesting spouse is unable to earn enough income to be self-supporting because of a mental disability or physical incapacitation;
  • The spouses have been married for at least 10 years and the requesting spouse in unable to earn enough income to meet basic needs; or
  • The requesting spouse cannot work due to being the caregiver of a child with a mental or physical disability.

Under Texas law, a court will begin a divorce case with the presumption that maintenance is not appropriate. If, however, the above circumstances are shown to exist in a case, then maintenance may be ordered.

In order to determine the type, amount, and duration of a maintenance award, as well as how payments will be made, Texas courts employ a number of factors. Factors will include things like:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The ability of each spouse to provide for their own reasonable needs
  • The earning capacity of each spouse
  • The time and cost needed for a spouse to obtain enough education or training to become financially self-sufficient
  • The physical and mental health of the spouse seeking maintenance
  • The age of each spouse
  • The ability of each spouse to meet basic needs while paying child support, if child support is a factor in their particular case
  • Any waste of marital property by either spouse during the marriage or while the divorce was pending
  • Contributions of either spouse to the other spouse’s education, training, or pursuit of career opportunities
  • The separate property either spouse brought into the marriage
  • Contributions of either spouse to maintaining the home

These factors, along with the guidelines established by Texas law, will be used in the court’s determination as to whether or not alimony should be awarded and, if it should be awarded, the length of the payments as well as the amount that should be included in each payment.

Family Law Attorneys

Don’t leave the alimony issue to chance. Talk to the trusted family law attorneys at Navarrete & Schwartz about your options. We are proud to serve the residence of Midland, Texas. Contact us today.