The American media speaks of alimony reform often, leaving some to believe that spousal support is a 20th-century relic. Although many states have adopted new alimony laws in recent decades, all states still offer spousal support in some form.
Texas is known for its complicated rules and regulations, especially in family law. Knowledge of the law protects the rights of those seeking spousal maintenance or concerned about an unwarranted alimony claim.
Complicated eligibility issues
Family courts in every state ensure that petitioners are eligible before awarding alimony, but Texas courts do it differently than many states. First, you must show the court that you lack sufficient property and assets to meet your “reasonable minimum” living requirements.
You must also meet one of these two conditions:
- Your spouse has a record of committing family violence during the two years before the divorce filing or while the divorce is underway.
- You cannot earn enough to meet your minimum needs due to an incapacitating disability or because you must care for a disabled child (of the marriage).
The length of your marriage may also play a role in the court’s alimony decision.
Limits to know about
Texas courts take a somewhat minimalistic approach to spousal maintenance. They typically award the lowest amount necessary and only for a set time. For example, courts do not usually order alimony for longer than five years unless your marriage lasted decades (or a disability exists).
Obtaining counsel is wise when seeking a spousal maintenance award. Those who fear their spouse will unfairly petition for alimony should also consider legal guidance.