Spousal support or alimony under Texas law is the award of periodic payments from the future income of one spouse to the other spouse at the time of divorce.
Spousal support laws are intricate. Contrary to what many people believe, getting spousal support awarded in Texas is far from a slam dunk. In Texas, the law presumes that spousal support is not warranted and the spouse who seeks support has sufficient property to provide for his/her minimum reasonable needs. The spouse seeking support must overcome this presumption to be considered for spousal support.
How Long Do you Have to be Married to Get Spousal Support
Let’s say that a spouse seeking support is able to overcome the presumption, he/she would only qualify for spousal support if one of the following conditions apply:
- The spouse seeking support has a physical or mental disability and has been unable to earn sufficient income to provide for his/her minimum reasonable needs because of the disability.
- The spouse seeking support has a child from the marriage who requires substantial care and personal supervision because of a physical or mental disability that prevents the spouse from earning sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs.
- The parties have been married for 10 years or over and the spouse seeking support is unable to provide for his/her minimum reasonable needs.
- The spouse from whom maintenance is requested has been convicted of a crime or placed on deferred adjudication for a criminal offense that also constitutes an act of family violence, committed during the marriage against the other spouse or a child from the marriage.
How Many Years of Support will You Get
Even if parties are married for at least 10 years, or the spouse qualifies under one of the provisions listed above, he/she does not get alimony for life.
- If the parties are married between 10 and 20 years – Alimony is ordered for a maximum of 5 years.
- If the parties are married between 20 and 30 years – Alimony is ordered for a maximum of 7 years.
- If the parties are married over 30 years – Alimony is ordered for a maximum of 10 years.
How Much Will You Get
Further issue is the calculation of the amount of alimony. Spousal support is not based on a flat percentage of the non-requesting spouse’s monthly income, but is calculated by considering the requesting spouse’s education, skills and his/her ability to provide for her own minimum needs, any adultery or cruel treatment of the requesting spouse (or non-requesting spouse), any excessive spending of the requesting spouse (or non-requesting spouse) etc. Such factors are considered to calculate an amount that would provide for the minimum needs of the requesting spouse.
Getting a spousal support award is a complex matter that would require the help of a dedicated and experienced attorney. Our firm has successfully litigated many divorce cases that involve the issues of spousal support.
Call Us today at 832-930-1529 for a consultation on your divorce matter.