Clients often ask about alimony and why Texas does not allow for alimony. The truth is Texas law does allow for the same-type support, but the support is called “spousal support” or “spousal maintenance.” Because spousal support is a statutory remedy, the court may only award the same if the statutory requirements are met. To be clear, spousal support is the award of additional money—not part of a division of marital property or child support—and is paid by one spouse to the other for future income to support the ex-spouse after the divorce. The statute sets forth various factors for the court’s consideration and provides for a spousal support award from five to ten years after the date of divorce.
To be eligible, the spouse seeking spousal support must:
I. lack sufficient property to provide for his/her minimum reasonable needs; AND
II. one of the following elements must apply:
i) the ex-spouse was convicted of family violence during the marriage;
ii) the spouse seeking support is disabled;
iii) the spouse seeking support has been married at least ten years and lacks the ability to earn sufficient income; or
iv) is the primary caretaker of a disabled child.
Section 8.052 of the Texas Family Code outlines various factors the court considers in deciding whether a spouse is eligible to receive maintenance. These factors play a role in determining the amount and the duration of spousal support. These factors include, but are not limited to: each spouse’s financial resources at the time of divorce, education, and employment skills; acts by either spouse resulting in excessive or abnormal expenditures of community property; the contribution by one spouse to the education, training, or increased earning power of the other spouse; the contribution of a spouse as homemaker; marital misconduct, including adultery and cruel treatment, by either spouse during the marriage; and any history or pattern of family violence. It is important to have your attorney review these elements when evaluating a claim for spousal support.