What Factors Do Courts Use to Grant Alimony and Determine Amount?
Though spousal support is less common than it was a generation or two ago, Texas courts still have discretion to award a spouse (male or female) a monthly income, either temporarily or on a permanent basis. Though every divorce proceeding commences with the presumption that alimony is unnecessary, a party may petition the court for payments, provided the potential recipient can show they’ve made a good faith attempt to be self-sufficient through education, training, or attempts to find gainful employment. If that can be shown, the court will take testimony and consider evidence to determine whether alimony is warranted and, if so, how much should be paid and for how long.
Eligibility for Alimony in Texas
To qualify for alimony in Texas, a party first must show that she or he lacks sufficient income/property at the time of the divorce to meet basic daily needs. In addition, at least one of the following conditions must be proven in court:
- The parties have been married at least 10 years;
- The spouse seeking alimony lacks the capacity to be self-sufficient due to a mental or physical condition;
- The spouse seeking maintenance has legal custody of a minor child of the marriage, and that minor child requires such care or supervision that the custodial parent cannot work and be self-sufficient;
- The spouse from whom alimony is sought has been convicted of an act of family violence involving either the other spouse or the couple’s minor children. The conviction must have occurred within two years prior to the filing of the complaint for divorce or while the divorce is pending.
Determining Whether Alimony Is Warranted
If the above criteria are met, a Texas family court then may consider any or all of the following factors to determine whether one of the parties should receive spousal support, how much they should receive, and how long they should receive it:
- the extent to which both parties have the financial resources to meet reasonable needs,
- length of the marriage,
- age and health of the parties,
- financial resources of the spouse seeking maintenance, including community and separate property and liabilities apportioned to that spouse in the dissolution proceeding, and that spouse’s ability to meet their own needs independently,
- education and job skills of the spouses,
- employment history and potential earning capacity of the spouse seeking maintenance,
- ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is requested to meet their own personal needs,
- any proven dissipation of marital assets by either party,
- contribution by one spouse to the education or earning capacity of the other,
- any property brought into the marriage by either spouse,
- contribution of a spouse as homemaker,
- any marital misconduct by the spouse seeking maintenance, and
- efforts of the spouse seeking maintenance to pursue available employment counseling as provided by Chapter 304, Labor Code.
Contact the Divorce and Family Law Attorneys at Bailey & Galyen
At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we offer a free initial consultation to every client. For an appointment with an experienced Texas divorce and family law attorney, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at 844-402-2992. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.