Alimony defined – When a couple decides to go through the process of a divorce, there is a lot more that goes into it besides simply appearing before a judge, signing a piece of paper, and then going their separate ways.
Depending on the case, there are division of property concerns, child custody issues and, of course, alimony. Alimony – or spousal support – is periodic payments that one party in a divorce pays the other spouse during or after a divorce. Alimony can be agreed upon by the spouses or court ordered, and while it is not a part of every divorce case, it can play a key role in providing fairness and equality when necessary.
A perfect example is when one spouse has a great job, a roof over their head, and the means to provide for themselves – regardless of what the final result of the divorce is. Meanwhile, the other spouse is a homemaker and because of certain factors, is able to prove they cannot provide the same financial support.
Simply put: Alimony creates balance and limits unfairness when it comes to basic needs.
With all that being said, alimony isn’t just given. A spouse seeking support from the court must first be eligible by proving they will not have enough property at the time of the divorce to provide basic needs, and have met one of four circumstances:
- The spouses were married for 10 years or longer, and the spouse seeking support is unable to earn enough income to support themselves.
- One spouse has been convicted of family violence against the spouse or that spouse’s child during the marriage, divorce proceedings, or within two years before the filing of the divorce action itself.
- The spouse seeking support is unable to earn enough income due to physical or mental disabilities.
- The spouse seeking support is unable to earn enough income due to the need to provide special care and supervision for a mentally or physically disabled child.
Unless family violence is involved, the court will automatically presume that alimony payments are not appropriate. The spouse seeking help will need to show the court that he or she has made a good effort to earn income that would provide these basic needs.
If a spouse is eligible to receive alimony payments, the court determines the amount, duration, and manner of the award. The court will look at several factors, the most notable of which include each spouse’s financial situation at the time of divorce, education and employment skills for each spouse, the length of the marriage, age of each spouse, earning ability for each spouse, physical and emotional health of the spouse seeking support, and any acts of adultery. Alimony defined
All alimony payments – with the exception of those involving the physical or mental health of the spouse or any children being cared for by that spouse – are time-limited by Texas law. An order for spousal support for these basic reasons can last no longer than:
*Five years, if the marriage lasted less than ten years and the court ordered maintenance because the paying spouse committed an act of family violence.
*Five years, if the marriage lasted between 10 and 20 years.
*Seven years, if the marriage lasted between 20 and 30 years.
*10 years, if the marriage lasted 30 years or longer.
The duration of alimony payments for any reason involving mental health is up to the court and can last for however long those conditions exist.
A monthly support payment cannot be more than $5,000 or 20 percent of the paying spouse’s average gross monthly income, whichever is less.
Our staff at Nelson Law Group, PC. is always available to answer any questions you or your family may have about divorce. Yes, we are in the business of family law, but our goal is to shepherd you through the process and keep your family’s best interests top of mind. We urge you to give us a call today. Alimony defined