Does Texas Allow Alimony in Divorce Cases?
Obtaining Spousal Support in a Divorce Proceeding
One of the most common misconceptions is that Texas does not allow alimony or spousal support to be awarded in divorce cases. The truth is a court may order (or allow agreed-upon terms) temporary spousal support or maintenance in some cases. In limited circumstances, a judge may grant long-term support. To determine your or your spouse’s eligibility, however, it is in your best interest to consult with an attorney.
At the Huerta Law Firm, we represent individuals who are seeking a divorce in El Paso, Texas, or the surrounding areas. Our experienced divorce lawyers in El Paso can help protect your assets and settle issues such as spousal maintenance, child support and custody, and the division of assets. If you would like more information about how we can help, contact our office at (915) 629-9988 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
When Is Spousal Maintenance Granted in a Divorce Case?
In a divorce proceeding, one party may agree to pay spousal support or alimony to the other party. This is not support that is awarded by the court but may become part of a final settlement between the parties. On the other hand, a court may order spousal maintenance to one party if certain requirements are met.
Pursuant to Section 8.051 of the Texas Family Code, spousal maintenance will be awarded in a dissolution of marriage under a limited set of circumstances. The court must find that the party seeking the maintenance would “lack sufficient property” to support their reasonable needs.
What Factors Determine Whether Spousal Maintenance Is Awarded?
Spousal maintenance is not granted in every divorce proceeding and is usually awarded on a case-by-case basis. An El Paso divorce lawyer can help determine if you may be eligible for spousal maintenance.
A court may award spousal maintenance if:
- Your spouse was convicted of or received deferred adjudication of an act of family violence against you or your child within two years of the divorce being filed;
- You have been married for at least 10 years and are “unable to earn sufficient income” to provide for your reasonable needs;
- You are unable to provide for your needs because of a physical or mental disability; or
- You are the custodian of a child of the marriage who needs “substantial care and personal supervision” due to a physical or mental disability.
Spousal maintenance is generally only awarded for a limited amount of time based on factors like the length of the marriage and your ability to earn sufficient income.
Do I Need an Attorney to Obtain Spousal Maintenance or Support?
A court has significant discretion in awarding maintenance, which is why it is in your best interest to discuss your case with a divorce lawyer as early in the process as possible. In Texas, the presumption is that spousal maintenance is not warranted unless you have exercised due diligence in earning sufficient income to support your needs or developing the necessary skills during the separation to support yourself after the divorce.
Since spousal support is agreed upon between the parties, an attorney can help determine what a fair and reasonable amount would be. Spousal support is not guaranteed and may be difficult to obtain in a contested divorce. However, an attorney may be able to assist in negotiating support as a condition of the final settlement.
Contact Our Office for a Free Consultation
If you are thinking about filing for divorce in El Paso, Texas, contact our office to schedule a free, confidential consultation. Call (915) 629-9988 to speak directly with a knowledgeable divorce lawyer in El Paso. All case evaluations are provided at no cost and without obligation to retain our firm.