When going through a divorce, the dreaded A-word often pops up somewhere along the way: alimony. Will you have to pay your ex-wife alimony? If so, how much will you have to give her every month? How long with the payments last? Will this be a lifelong thing or at some point will the court decide it is enough and let you stop making payments? These might be a few questions you have concerning alimony laws in Texas.
If you are considering divorce, an experienced attorney in the San Marcos area can help you through the process. From handling your questions about property division, custody and spousal support, a skilled attorney can make a difference.
Requirements for demands
If your future ex-wife is already making noises about alimony, there are requirements she must meet in order for the court to support her demand. First, she will have to prove her eligibility by demonstrating that she cannot support herself at a reasonable level. Also, one of two conditions must exist in order for her to qualify.
If a court has convicted you for an act of family violence, or if you received deferred adjudication for such an act, then the divorce court may rule that you must pay alimony. However, you must have committed the act within two years of you or your wife filing for divorce or during the time the divorce was pending.
If your wife cannot earn enough income to support herself, then the court may order you to pay alimony. In addition, her lack of ability must be due to a mental or physical ailment, acting as the custodian of one or more of your children that is special needs, or the marriage must have lasted for at least 10 years.
One of the above conditions must be met in order for the court to approve the need for alimony. Depending on the exact circumstances of your spouse’s situation, the court will then determine the amount you must pay and the length of time you make the payments.
Amount of alimony
In Texas, the court will usually award the lesser of $5,000 per month or 20 percent of your average monthly income. If you and your spouse are able to reach a divorce settlement outside of the court, you may include a different amount of alimony. The caveat here is that the court must consider the agreed upon amount fair to both spouses.
Duration of payments
The amount of time the court order for alimony will be active depends largely on the specific circumstances of your marriage and divorce. For example, if there was family violence, then the court may award alimony for a maximum of five years. Five years is also the typical duration if the marriage lasted between 10 and 20 years. For marriages that lasted between 20 and 30 years, the court usually requires seven years of alimony payments. If your wife is the custodian of your special needs child, then the award may be indefinite.
If you are considering divorce, it is important to have a skilled advocate working to protect your interests.