A brief guide to alimony in Texas

Those living in Texas who are going through a divorce may be curious about what the law says about alimony, also known as spousal maintenance. Each state has slightly different regulations regarding what makes a person eligible to receive alimony payments, as well as what is considered in determining the amount given in monthly payments. Texas follows the intrastate laws for determining spousal support, with a few exceptions that it would behoove couples to be aware of in case a divorce may be looming.

Where Texas stands apart from other states regarding alimony

In Texas, while child support obligations are considered the higher priority, it is possible to have some income withheld in order to meet the requirements of court-designated spousal maintenance. Typically, spousal maintenance will not exceed 20% of the income of the obliged party, but this can be as much as $2,500 depending on the income of the one who pays support. In Texas, marital misconduct is considered along with spending habits, education and both parties' financial resources, when it comes to deciding if support shall be paid or not.

What are the factors in determining maintenance amounts?

If a spouse has been involved in family violence, including assault or physical harm, as well as the threat of such actions, all incidents will be considered by the court in determining how much alimony is owed. The court also looks at how much property each spouse brought into the household. The length of time during which both parties remained married is part of what the court looks at. It is also considered whether one spouse will be financially able to meet the needs of the spouse requesting the alimony.

Factors determining eligibility of maintenance

Courts in Texas will also look at some other aspects of the marital relationship to decide if alimony payments can be approved. In order to receive alimony, the requesting spouse must have a child that requires maintenance and care that the parent's income is not sufficient to provide. Without a child being involved, it is still possible to obtain alimony if the requesting spouse is unable to meet his or her financial needs with his or her own personal income, as long as the marriage lasted 10 years or more. An important distinction between Texas and other states is that the spouse making payments must have been convicted of an offense relating to family violence during or within two years of which dissolution of marriage is filed.

Anyone in Texas who is seeking alimony during a divorce may find it difficult to negotiate considering the terms the court will examine. Consulting an attorney in the local area who practices family law may improve someone's chances at receiving alimony, or at contesting a request for alimony.