I'm Getting Divorce, How Do I Get Alimony?

December 10, 2018

 

To receive alimony (a.k.a. “Spousal Support” by its proper name) in Texas, there are a handful of requirements that must be met.  Determinations about the amount and duration of payments are then made using guidelines provided by the law. 

 

What is the Purpose of Alimony?

 

Alimony is intended to provide temporary and rehabilitative support for the spouse whose ability to financially support themselves (to meet their minimum reasonable needs) has been impaired by their homemaking or supporting efforts during their marriage, and who doesn’t have sufficient assets to support themselves. 

 

The idea behind alimony is to require support be provided while spouse being supported acquires the necessary skill, training, or education to fully support themselves.

 

What Are My Minimum Reasonable Needs?

 

The idea behind minimum reasonable needs is fairly straightforward: You consider the receiving spouse’s monthly financial obligations and compare them to the receiving spouse’s monthly income and total assets.  Next, if there’s a deficit it must be determined whether the receiving spouse presently has the capacity to meet their minimum reasonable needs.

 

Is There Anything I Should Do To Help Myself Receive Alimony?

 

Yes.  Courts won’t order alimony if the receiving spouse hasn’t exercised due diligence in finding employment or developing the necessary skills to become self-supporting during the period of separation or the time the divorce is pending. 

 

Do I Have To Be Married A Certain Length of Time To Receive Alimony?

 

No.  If you can receive alimony if you are unable to meet your minimum reasonable needs due to physical or mental disability or because you are the caretaker of a child of the marriage who is mentally or physically disabled.  Otherwise, Texas law mandates that couples are married for certain lengths of time before alimony can be awarded. 

  • 5 years if the couple was married between 10 to 20 years and the paying spouse has been convicted or received deferred adjudication for family violence;

  • 7 years if the couple was married between 20 to 30 years;

  • 10 years if the couple was married 30 years or more.

While these are the maximum time limits for alimony, Texas law requires alimony be awarded for the shortest time possible to allow the spouse receiving alimony to begin earning enough income to meet their minimum reasonable needs.

 

However, courts are permitted to extend these time limits if the receiving spouse is unable earn enough income to support themselves due to being required to take care of a young child of the marriage, a physical or mental disability, or another compelling reason. 

 

Determinations about the exact duration for which to award alimony are made after considering 11 factors, such as whether there was marital misconduct, the age, education, and training of the receiving spouse, and whether family violence occurred during the marriage. 

 

How Much Alimony Can I Get?

 

Typically, alimony cannot be more than (1) $5,000 per month or (2) 20 percent of the paying spouse’s gross monthly income. 

 

If you are getting divorced and want to see if you can receive alimony, call Kannon Moore at 512-900-6011 for a free case review.

 

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