Divorce is a matter of law, and there are legal protections intended to prevent unjust financial outcomes to the proceeding. In Texas, one of these protections in is alimony or spousal maintenance, which protects against one spouse from suffering from extreme economic hardship after the divorce.
Only a limited number of couples qualify for alimony in divorce under Texas law. Spouses preparing for a divorce should speak with attorneys honestly about alimony to determine their rights and potential liability.
The Definition of Alimony
Alimony is the financial 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 ensuring 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 the 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 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 high for a spouse that is able to support his/herself.
Who Qualifies for Alimony After Divorce in Texas?
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 can help their clients to present evidence in court that shows they qualify for alimony in Texas during their divorce. 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 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 their divorce if possible, like uncontested divorce and mediation, that help reduce the stress.
Even if you and your spouse do not qualify for alimony under Texas Law or your divorce is uncontested, a good divorce attorney 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.
Call an Expert Divorce Attorney in Houston
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.