In addition to being an extremely challenging emotional life event between spouses in their marriage, divorce is a matter of law. Therefore, there are certain legal protections that are intended to prevent unjust financial outcomes to the proceeding, regardless of the emotions involved. One of these protections is alimony or spousal support, which protects against one spouse from suffering from extreme economic hardship after the divorce. Only a limited number of couples qualify for alimony under Texas law. Divorcing spouses should speak with attorneys in Houston honestly about alimony to determine their rights and potential liability.
Definition of Alimony
Alimony is support that one spouse pays to the other in addition to child support and distributions of assets from the divorce settlement. The idea behind alimony laws is ensure that the lower earning or non-earning spouse can meet his/her reasonable and necessary needs and avoid serious economic harm or poverty due to the divorce. For example, if one spouse was a homemaker for 15 years during the marriage before divorce, that spouse’s lack of work experience and job skills means that it will be hard for them to support themselves and find a job immediately after the marriage dissolves. Alimony may be used to prevent the spouse from falling into poverty or other harms. Good attorneys in Houston aim to make sure their clients don’t suffer too drastically after divorce, as well as making sure their clients don’t pay out too highly for a spouse that is able to support his/herself.
Who Qualifies for Alimony
There are four different conditions according to Texas law that qualify a spouse for alimony. Those conditions are:
One of the spouses was convicted in a court of law of family violence against the other spouse or the child of the marriage.
A spouse is unable to earn enough income to provide for their basic needs because of a physical or mental disability
The marriage lasted for 10 years, and one spouse is unable to earn enough income immediately after the marriage ends to provide for reasonable and necessary basic needs.
One of the spouses cares for a child of the marriage that has physical or mental disabilities, preventing the spouse from earning enough money to provide for themselves.
Attorneys in Houston can help their clients present evidence to the judge that shows they qualify for alimony. If the spouse claims they cannot support themselves immediately after the marriage, it’s also their burden to show they’ve looked for jobs and have encountered some barrier in finding gainful employment.
The judge determines the amount and length of time that a spouse receives alimony. There are also statutory limits to alimony in Texas based on the length of the marriage.
Other Financial Benefits in Divorce
Divorce attorneys in Houston can also help a spouse establish child support, distribute marital property and resolve other elements of the marriage. One should also consider more cost effective and convenient methods to going about divorce if possible, like uncontested divorce and mediation, that help reduce the stress of divorce. However, even if your divorce is uncontested and alimony is not an issue good divorce attorneys in Houston can help guide you through the process quickly and efficiently, explaining your financial rights and obligations and saving you money in the long run.
At Ramos Law Group, PLLC, we have qualified attorneys in Houston that are committed to explaining all of our clients’ rights in full. Contact our office for more information or to speak with an attorney today.