Alimony, also known as “spousal support” across the country, is specifically known as “spousal maintenance” in Texas. These payments are available for many divorced individuals to help them maintain a certain level of income and support after the marriage. In many cases, spousal maintenance and alimony are not permanent but are instead used to get the divorced person back on their feet so they can support themselves financially after the marriage.
If you are getting divorced and are interested in seeking alimony in the Dallas area, call The Queenan Law Firm today. Our Dallas alimony lawyers represent husbands and wives in divorce cases and work to help them get alimony to support them in the aftermath of divorce. We also handle other aspects of the divorce, such as property division and child support. Call us today to set up a confidential consultation on your divorce case.
Types of Alimony You Can Get in Dallas
Courts awarding spousal maintenance do not always award payments on a permanent basis. Courts will use the same factors they use in determining alimony amounts to determine how long alimony should be paid and why they should be paid.
If a spouse’s contributions during the marriage to the payor’s education and financial status are one of the main factors supporting alimony, the court might order reimbursement alimony. This alimony is used to essentially pay the recipient back for costs they covered during the marriage, such as education and professional licensing fees. Reimbursement alimony can essentially pay back a spouse who propped their spouse up financially. These payments are usually temporary.
Rehabilitative alimony, in contrast, helps prop up the recipient to assist them while they get the financial footing they need so that alimony can end. These payments are used to cover a spouse in the short term so they can become financially independent going forward without alimony.
Permanent alimony is rare outside of situations where a spouse has serious health conditions or disabilities. A permanent alimony order can last on an ongoing basis with occasional reviews to continue to support a spouse who needs it. This usually ends only if the spouse remarries or becomes a dependent of someone else.
Requirements to Qualify for Alimony in Dallas, TX
There is a general presumption that divorce means that the husband will give half of his assets to the wife and that he will have to pay her alimony. This standard presumption cannot apply for many couples, and it is impossible to use this standard and still be fair in many cases. In many marriages, the setup of one working spouse and one stay-at-home spouse does not exist, and courts need to look closer just to determine whether alimony is necessary at all before looking at who would receive these payments.
To determine whether either spouse is eligible for alimony in the first place, courts will look the requirements listed in in Texas Fam. Code § 8.051.
Lack of Sufficient Property
First, alimony can only be granted if the court finds that one spouse “will lack sufficient property” after the divorce. That means that if your separate property from before the marriage is enough to support you or you have a job that can support you after the divorce, the court should not grant you alimony.
Second, you must meet one of the following requirements:
- Your spouse committed a domestic violence crime against you in the 2 years before the divorce or during divorce proceedings,
- You have a physical or mental disability,
- You were married for at least 10 years and now cannot support yourself, or
- You have custody of a child that has physical or mental disabilities.
These limitations mean that alimony is only ordered in cases that truly need it. Texas allows fault-based divorce, so giving alimony to a spouse who was abused is reasonable in most cases. Cases of disability or a child’s disability are also reasonable reasons that the spouse might need financial assistance. The 10-year rule can be confusing, but the assumption is that during those 10 years, the spouse did not work, and it would now be difficult to get job training, go back to school, and find a job.
Which Spouse Gets Alimony?
If the court finds that alimony is necessary, it will be obvious which spouse can receive alimony because there will be a distinct financial difference between the two. Since the spouse must have a financial need for alimony, spousal maintenance cannot be awarded to a working spouse or a spouse who makes more money than the other spouse, regardless of gender.
Calculating Alimony or Spousal Maintenance Payments in Dallas, TX
Once the court determines that alimony payments are necessary in your case, they will also need to decide the amount that these payments should cover. Different financial situations are going to need additional payments. For instance, a spouse who has a physical disability, no job, and shared children living with them may have little time and ability to support themselves, plus additional expenses they need covered.
Courts in Dallas and throughout Texas are supposed to look at Texas Fam. Code § 8.052, where there are 11 factors listed that affect how much alimony payments should cover. These factors primarily deal with the income and expenses that each spouse has, their education and ability to find work, the length of the marriage, each spouse’s health conditions, contributions made during the marriage, and fault in leading to the divorce (e.g., adultery or abuse).
Courts are also allowed to look at other factors beyond this list if they find them reasonable and related to the alimony decision.
Call Our Dallas Alimony Lawyers for a Confidential Case Consultation
If you are seeking a divorce and need financial assistance after the marriage ends, talk to a Dallas family law attorney about alimony or spousal maintenance. Our Dallas alimony lawyers represent spouses seeking alimony and financial support during and after divorce. If you need payments to help you regain financial independence or to cover the costs of health care and disabilities after a divorce, call The Queenan Law Firm today to set up a case consultation with our Dallas and Arlington TX family law attorney. Our number is (817) 476-1797.