Going through a divorce can often be an overwhelming process. Having a trusted, dedicated divorce attorney on your side is a vital part to keeping peace of mind during any divorce. With your best interests in mind, the attorneys at Powell Law Offices, P.C. can help you understand the legal steps, processes and obstacles involved in your case.
One common question that arises in a divorce case relates to the ability to receive alimony. If you have questions about alimony or hope to make alimony payments part of your divorce, the attorneys at Powell Law Offices, P.C. can help.Qualifying For Spousal Maintenance
Alimony in Texas is referred to as spousal maintenance or spousal support, and the guidelines regarding a person’s ability to receive spousal maintenance and the length of time such maintenance may be available are outlined in the Texas Family Code.
Every case is different, and the ability to receive spousal maintenance is based upon the specific facts of each case. In some cases, a former spouse will agree to pay spousal maintenance, which would then be considered a contractual obligation. Contractual maintenance is voluntary and without any legal eligibility requirements. If, however, a spouse is not willing to agree to pay spousal maintenance, the court will consider several factors in determining whether to award spousal maintenance.
In order to be eligible for spousal maintenance, a party must meet one of the following requirements:
- One spouse is convicted of family violence against the other spouse or the children, during the marriage or within two years before a divorce is filed.
- The spouse applying for maintenance cannot earn enough income because of a mental or physical disability.
- The spouses have been married for 10+ years, and the requesting spouse lacks the ability to earn sufficient income and has made a diligent effort to earn sufficient income or develop skills.
- The spouse applying for maintenance is caring for a child of the marriage with a mental or physical disability that prevents the ability to earn enough income.
There is not a fixed amount of time that spousal maintenance is awarded. The timeframe for spousal support is fact specific, and the court will look at numerous factors, including the following:
- Each party’s financial resources at the time of divorce
- How long the parties have been married
- The age, health and employment history of the party requesting the support
- Any separate property of the spouses
- Any amount of child support being paid
The court will use these factors to determine the length of time that spousal maintenance is payable, but at most, spousal maintenance will not be payable for longer than 10 years unless there is a physical or mental disability to consider. Typically, the duration of spousal maintenance will be limited to the shortest reasonable time that allows the party to earn enough income to provide for his or her minimum reasonable needs.
Before heading to court on your own to obtain spousal maintenance, contact a divorce lawyer from our firm. We are passionate about serving you. Contact Powell Law Offices, P.C. today to set up your confidential case evaluation.