Texas law allows many divorced individuals to seek continued economic support from their spouse as part of a divorce case. Because of disabilities or even because a spouse has spent so many years away from the job market, a divorced spouse might not be able to afford to support themselves after a divorce. Spousal support or alimony – officially known as “spousal maintenance” in Texas law – can be paid to help these people.
Call The Queenan Law Firm’s Fort Worth alimony lawyer for help seeking or fighting against spousal maintenance or alimony in your divorce case. Our lawyers represent either side in a divorce case, fighting to help protect your rights and needs. To set up a confidential case consultation, call us today at (817) 476-1797.
When Do Courts Order Alimony in Fort Worth?
Courts in Texas are only supposed to order alimony or spousal maintenance under limited circumstances. In previous times, it may have been common for a wife to receive alimony after every divorce, but Texas law today does not presume that the wife will get alimony and that the husband will pay. Instead, courts are only supposed to grant spousal support in cases where one spouse has a financial need and the property and money they receive from the divorce will not be enough to support them.
In many marriages today, both spouses work, and either spouse could have a job that will not allow them to be fully supported financially after the divorce. In cases where one spouse will not be supported and the other will, the courts often order spousal maintenance to support the spouse with less income.
Courts will often be especially willing to grant alimony in cases where one spouse has mental or physical disabilities, where they care for a child with disabilities, or where they were married for over 10 years and cannot easily jump back into the workforce.
Types of Alimony in Fort Worth
Alimony can be ordered for multiple different reasons. Each of the following “types” of alimony has its own goals and is issued to support those goals. Many of these types of alimony are temporary and will only be paid on a limited basis until the goal is accomplished.
Two types of temporary alimony are alimony pendente lite, which is paid while the divorce is pending to help a separated spouse continue to seek support while the court works out the divorce. Similarly, rehabilitative alimony is paid on a temporary basis after the divorce is finalized to support the spouse while they look for a job, find a place to live, and go through the other trials and tribulations of returning to financial independence after a divorce.
Alimony can also be paid on a temporary basis to recognize past support that the recipient has given. While alimony is typically paid to support the spouse who cannot afford it, it can also be paid to support them in recognition of expenses they paid for to support their spouse. For instance, a spouse who worked to pay to put their spouse through college or professional school can often seek rehabilitation alimony to reimburse them for that work. This is also common in cases where one spouse was a homemaker or provided other support for the family, such as by being a stay-at-home parent.
Alimony can be permanent, but this is often reserved for cases where the marriage lasted a long time and the recipient has an expectation of living a certain lifestyle or where the recipient has physical or mental health conditions that require additional support. Talk to an Arlington family lawyer about receiving permanent alimony in your divorce case in Fort Worth.
Calculating How Much and How Long Alimony Will Be for in Fort Worth
When the court forms alimony orders, they need to know how much the order should be for and how long the payments will last. Courts determine this by looking at a list of factors contained in Texas Family Law § 8.052.
This statute says that these factors are relevant in determining the “nature, amount, duration, and manner of” the alimony payments. The statute also implies that this list is not exhaustive and that the court is able to use other “relevant” factors when making its decisions.
The 11 factors listed for the court to consider deal primarily with economic differences between the spouses. For instance, each spouse’s ability to afford their financial needs is the first factor, and the education and job skills each spouse possesses is the second. The courts also look at the condition each spouse is in, looking at age, employment history, and more. How each spouse acted during the marriage is also important, with courts weighing contributions to each other’s training and education, contributions as a homemaker, contribution to marital strife, and violence toward the other spouse.
If the divorce you filed is based on fault, the court can also consider violence, adultery, and other issues. If either spouse’s actions contributed to the divorce, that marital misconduct can be a factor in calculating alimony. If either spouse was convicted of a crime against the other spouse within 2 years before the divorce or during the divorce case, that can also be grounds to claim alimony in the first place.
Call Our Alimony and Spousal Support Lawyers in Fort Worth, TX
For a confidential consultation on your divorce and alimony case, call The Queenan Law Firm today. Our Fort Worth alimony lawyers represent spouses in divorce cases and work to get them alimony payments they might need to support themselves after a divorce. We also work to protect our clients’ finances if alimony is being claimed against them. For your legal consultation, call our Fort Worth and Arlington TX family lawyers today at (817) 476-1797.