Alimony – Spousal Maintenance and Support
Get The Spousal Support And Maintenance You Deserve
In a divorce, one party may request a monthly alimony payment, also known as spousal maintenance or spousal support. Alimony is usually made by one spouse to another after the finalization of a divorce.
There are two types of maintenance: chapter 8 alimony and contractual support. Chapter 8 alimony references the section of the Texas Family Code establishing eligibility and is usually court ordered. Contractual spousal support is based on the agreement of the spouses.
What are the qualifications for receiving alimony?
In order to qualify for court ordered support, the spouse in need of alimony must meet the statutory requirements, including:
- That they are a spouse.
- That they lack the ability to provide for their own reasonable needs.
- They meet ONE of the four statutory requirements below:
- The spouses have been married for at least 10 years and the spouse seeking alimony does not have the ability to support themselves.
- The other spouse was convicted of family violence within the two years prior to a suit being filed.
- The spouse is unable to provide for themselves due to an incapacitating mental or physical disability.
- The spouse is unable to provide for themselves because they is providing care for a disabled child of the marriage.
How long will one spouse be ordered to pay spousal support?
Alimony and support are generally determined by the length of a marriage. It is limited to the shortest reasonable amount of time, but if the support is based on the disability of the spouse or of the child, then their is no time limit. Here are some guidelines for the length of spousal maintenance:
- Married between 10 and 20 years—Alimony for no more than 5 years.
- Married between 20 and 30 years—Alimony for no more than 7 years.
- Married 30 years or more—Alimony for no more than 10 years.
How is spousal support calculated?
Alimony is calculated by looking at the reasonable needs of the party seeking support. The party seeking support will have to prepare a Financial Information Statement listing their reasonable needs including a monthly expenses. Often the education, business opportunities, abilities, and mortgage concerns of the spouse in need are relevant as well.
Support is capped at either $5000 per month, or 20% of a party’s average gross monthly income. There is not fixed calculation for spousal support and the amount of support varies in every case.
Can I ask for spousal support before the divorce is finalized?
Interim, or temporary support, is granted to one party while the case is pending and is not subject to the requirements listed above. Sometimes temporary spousal support will be in the form of one party being ordered to continue making payments on the residence or vehicle of the other party and sometimes they are in the form of monthly monetary payments.
Seeking Expert Advice
If you need alimony advice, or you’re preparing for a divorce, reach out to the Ramos Law Group today for help from lawyers with years of experience in family law. Contact us at our Houston office at 713-561-5198.