Lake Jackson Alimony Lawyers
Compassionate Legal Advocates Fighting for Your Rights
JM Davis Law PLLC takes a compassionate approach to litigation and will put up an aggressive fight for your side in court. This is a particularly important skill to have in alimony cases, as a knowledgeable professional can efficiently protect your interests as a former spouse in the face of alimony negotiation. Whether you seek to file for alimony or are being asked to pay support, JM Davis Law PLLC can take a look at your situation and guide you through the legal process.
Who Can Get Alimony?
In Texas, either spouse can request alimony, or spousal maintenance, during their divorce process. However, the court will only grant support if the requesting spouse does not have enough property at the time of the divorce to provide for their basic needs and:
- the supporting spouse was convicted of family violence against the other spouse or their children within 2 years of the divorce filing or while the divorce is pending;
- the requesting spouse is unable to earn enough income to be self-supporting due to an incapacitating physical or mental disability;
- the spouses have been married for at least 10 years, and the requesting spouse lacks the ability to earn income to meet basic needs; or
- the requesting spouse is the custodial parent of a child who requires substantial care or personal supervision due to a mental or physical disability which prevents the parent from working and earning an income.
Note that Texas law presumes that spousal maintenance is not appropriate. However, if the requesting spouses can demonstrate that they have made a good faith effort to earn an income or acquire the education or training necessary to become financially independent but still need support, the court will proceed with an alimony evaluation.
To determine the nature, amount, duration, and payment method of alimony, the court will evaluate:
- each spouse’s ability to provide for that spouse’s reasonable needs;
- both spouses’ education and employment skills and/or the time necessary for the supported spouse to acquire education or training to enable them to earn enough income to become financially independent;
- the duration of the marriage;
- the age, employment history, earning ability, and physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance;
- each spouse’s ability to meet needs while paying child support (if applicable);
- whether either spouse wasted, concealed, destroyed, or otherwise disposed of any community property;
- whether either spouse contributed to the other’s education, training, or increased earning power during the marriage;
- the property both spouses brought to the marriage;
- any contributions of a spouse as a homemaker;
- marital misconduct (e.g., adultery, cruel treatment) by either spouse during the marriage; and
- any history or pattern of family violence.
The duration of spousal maintenance will depend on the supported spouse’s circumstances. For example, in the following situations, a judge may order a spouse to pay support for as long as the following conditions exist:
- the supported spouse has a physical or mental disability;
- the supported spouse is the custodial parent of an infant or young child; or
- another compelling reason.
In other situations, the duration of maintenance may be limited by Texas law to:
- 5 years, if the spouses were married less than 10 years and the supporting spouse was convicted of family violence;
- 5 years, if the spouses were married for 10-20 years;
- 7 years, if the spouses were married for 20-30 years; and
- 10 years, if the spouses were married for at least 30 or more years.
It is possible for maintenance orders to end before the termination dates if:
- either party dies;
- the supported spouse remarries;
- the supported spouse cohabitates with a third-party while in a dating or romantic relationship; or
- upon a review or future order of the court.
Typically, a judge will order periodic payments (usually monthly) of spousal maintenance. The court may also choose to issue an income withholding order, which directs the paying spouse’s employer to deduct maintenance payments from their paycheck and forward it to the proper court agency.
Be aware that, unlike many other states, Texas limits the amount of support a court can order. In most cases, maintenance awards may not be more than $5,000 per month or more than 20% of the paying spouse’s average monthly gross income, whichever is lesser.
Seek an Experienced Alimony Lawyer Today
If you have legal questions or concerns about alimony awards in Texas, whether you are petitioning for support or anticipate paying support, do not hesitate to consult an experienced lawyer for guidance. The attorneys at JM Davis Law PLLC can help you navigate the alimony process, whether in petitioning for spousal support or determining how much you will be expected to pay (and for how long). Alimony is an important topic in divorce negotiations, and it is best to work through it with legal counsel beside you.