If you are thinking about filing for divorce in Texas, or if your spouse has already filed for divorce and you have been served with divorce papers, you may be worried about how you will be able to afford your bills and other expenses without help from your spouse. In many marriages, one of the spouses is the primary earner while the other is a stay-at-home parent, or one of the spouses earns significantly more than the other spouse. In such scenarios, the lesser-earning spouse might want to seek spousal maintenance (also discussed as spousal support or alimony) in order to help make ends meet until she or he is able to get a higher paying job or to complete a degree in order to earn a higher salary.
While spousal maintenance is often awarded in many states under a variety of circumstances, spousal support in Texas is a bit different. To be sure, spousal support is much more difficult to obtain in Texas than in some other states. We want to provide you with more information about what you would need in order to get spousal support in your Texas divorce.
You Must Fall Into One of Four Different Categories to Be Eligible for Alimony
If you are seeking support in Texas, you should know up front that the Texas Family Code only allows a spouse seeking maintenance to obtain support from the other spouse if one of the following four situations is true:
- Spouse who would be required to pay support was convicted of a family violence offense (or received deferred adjudication for such an offense) against the spouse seeking support or the spouse’s child, and the offense occurred either within two years prior to the divorce filing or while the divorce suit is pending;
- Spouse seeking maintenance is unable to earn a sufficient income to provide for his or her reasonable needs due to an incapacitating physical or mental disability;
- Spouse seeking maintenance is unable to earn a sufficient income to provide for his or her reasonable needs and the marriage lasted for at least 10 years; or
- Spouse seeking maintenance is unable to earn a sufficient income to provide for his or her reasonable needs because the spouse seeking support is the custodian of a child from the marriage (a minor or an adult child) who has a mental or physical disability that requires substantial care and personal supervision.
To be clear, simply because one spouse earned less money than the other spouse during the course of the marriage, or supported the higher earning spouse during his or her years in college, or provided care and domestic duties—which could result in a spousal support award in other states—will not be sufficient reasons for a Texas court to award support.
If You Are Eligible for Support, the Court Will Determine the Amount and Duration of the Award
If you can get spousal support according to Texas law, the next thing you likely want to know is how much you will be awarded and how long the support will last. According to the Texas Family Code, once the court determines that a spouse seeking support is eligible to receive money from the other spouse, the court will then turn to a variety of statutory factors to determine the amount, duration, nature, and manner of payments.
There is no specific formula in Texas for determining the amount and duration of spousal support or maintenance as there is in certain other states. If you want to know more about how the court may determine the amount and duration of support in your case, you should seek advice from a Texas divorce lawyer.
Contact a Colleyville Divorce Attorney for Assistance
If you are planning on a divorce and want to seek spousal support, you should get in touch with an experienced Colleyville divorce lawyer today. At The Fetty Firm, PC, we routinely help spouses seeking support in a divorce case, and we can help you to understand your options and to advocate for your rights in court. Contact The Fetty Firm, PC today for more information.