The laws regarding spousal support are fairly rigid, and any entitlement to spousal support (or Alimony) is limited to certain situations and is generally, only enforceable for certain durations. Spousal support in Texas is the payment made to one of the spouses by the other at the time of ending the relationship. A party’s obligation to support the other spouse financially for a temporary (or, sometimes, even a permanent basis) is decided by the parties or at the court’s discretion. The amount of support to be given by one of the spouses to the other is dependent on many factors, and is determined on a case by case basis.
Types of Spousal Support (Alimony)
Texas recognizes two types of spousal support present in this state: contractual and court ordered maintenance. The court has the authority to order a temporary allowance when the decision of parting ways is pending as per the Family Code. Contractual alimony is based on an agreement between the parties in that they reach privately, and usually memorialized in their final decree of divorce. Court ordered support will likewise, be an order that is memorialized in the final decree of divorce.
Caps and Limitations to Spousal Support (Alimony) in Texas
- The amount of spousal support is generally capped at $5000 per month or 20% of the monthly gross income, whichever is the lesser amount.
- If a marriage lasted more than 10 years (under circumstances), one party may get support for five to even ten years, depending on the length of the marriage (even longer under certain, special circumstances, such as a disabled spouse, then the order for support could last more than the stipulated time).
Factors to be Considered in Spousal Support
- The financial status or resources of the spouse seeking maintenance (property, assets and liabilities)
- Education and employment skills of both the partners
- The chances of being retrained or educated to move on in life
- The ability to pay – the court looks at the spouse’s gross income and reduces it by subtracting all mandatory deductions (like tax) to come up with the net income
- The duration of the marriage
- Property that was brought to the marriage by either spouse
- Homemaker contributions made by either spouse
- Misconduct by either party during the marriage
- Willingness to seek employment counseling
Spousal Support in Texas is a crucial and complicated matter. In contractual support, the process is much simpler and faster. But there are times, when the parties fail to reach an agreement, and the court has to intervene; experienced counsel can help a spouse seeking spousal support by allotting the compensation that they are entitled to. Call Ashmore & Ashmore for a private consultation.