Alimony or spousal support, known as spousal maintenance in Texas, is money paid to a spouse after or during a divorce to help support their needs. After getting divorced, one of the spouses might have disabilities or economic needs that they do not have the ability to pay for. Even if you are willing and able to work after a divorce, it may take you time to get job training or find a job that will hire you, and spousal maintenance can be vital in the meantime.
The Queenan Law Firm’s Houston alimony lawyers represent husbands and wives in divorce cases and alimony cases, working to help them get the support they need. For a case consultation, call our law offices today. Our phone number is (817) 476-1797.
Qualifications for Alimony in Houston, TX
Traditionally, there is an assumption that a divorced wife can get alimony from her husband after a divorce, but this is based on a number of factors that are no longer relevant in many cases. Couples today often have both spouses working, and it is not always the case that a husband is the sole provider and that a wife is the one seeking support. Instead, judges in Texas have a number of factors that they should consider when deciding whether either spouse qualifies for alimony.
Under Texas law, judges are only supposed to award alimony or spousal maintenance after a divorce if one of the spouses will not have adequate property or income to support themselves. That means that if both spouses have jobs and asset division leaves them both with adequate property, then alimony may be unnecessary. The law also has specific facts the judge can award spousal support for, including evidence that the recipient has a physical or mental disability, that the marriage lasted 10 years or more, or that the recipient has a child with disabilities.
Courts can also award spousal maintenance to victims of domestic violence if it occurred in the two years before the divorce suit or while the case is pending. This is an important factor for many spouses taking advantage of Texas’ at-fault divorce grounds.
How Spousal Support is Calculated in Houston
Texas courts are given a large list of factors to consider when determining whether alimony is necessary and how much to award. These factors determine not only the amount, but also how long alimony is necessary for, potentially allowing a judge to order high alimony payments on a short-term basis or long-term alimony at a lower value.
Texas Family Law § 8.052 contains 11 different factors for the court to use, primarily dealing with issues of financial difficulty, education and employment opportunities, contributions to the family and the family’s financial status, the length of the marriage, and each party’s financial needs. In addition, courts can also look at either party’s fault in causing the divorce, such as adultery or abuse.
Courts can also go beyond these factors. Section 8.052 states that the judge should consider “all relevant factors” and includes the 11 listed factors as examples, but it does not set these 11 factors as an exhaustive list. If there are intricate financial situations in your specific case, the court can often consider these issues as well.
Types of Alimony in Houston, TX
Courts award alimony for different purposes in many cases. Most of these named types of alimony are not officially different in the eyes of the law, they just broadly characterize the reasons alimony might be necessary. Even if one of these situations does not apply, you could still be entitled to alimony and our Houston alimony lawyers might be able to help.
In some, the spouse needs ongoing, permanent economic support because they cannot support themselves. This often results in “permanent alimony.” In other cases, only temporary payments are necessary for various reasons.
Sometimes the goal of what the alimony will do is also a factor in what “type” of alimony will be awarded. If one spouse made significant contributions to the family and their economic status, then alimony might be used as “reimbursement alimony” to pay them back for those expenses. For instance, a spouse who worked two jobs and acted as a homemaker to support their spouse through medical school or law school might be able to seek reimbursement alimony in a divorce case to pay them back for their service as a homemaker, the money paid toward school and licensing fees, and the other support given.
Another goal of alimony can be to help the spouse get back to financial independence after the divorce. This “rehabilitative” alimony can be paid on a temporary basis to help the spouse afford job training and cover housing and other expenses while they look for a job. In most cases, this is not permanent.
Alimony Pendente Lite
During the divorce itself, the spouses might already be separated and living in different households. If one spouse restricts the other spouse’s access to bank accounts and finances, it could be impossible for them to afford a lawyer and living expenses. Alimony pendente lite can be ordered while litigation is pending to help cover expenses. At the time the divorce is finalized, alimony can be changed to another type of alimony as the situation dictates.
Call Our Alimony Lawyers in Houston for a Confidential Case Consultation
If you are going through a divorce and will not be able to financially support yourself after the divorce, call our Houston alimony lawyers for help. At The Queenan Law Firm, our attorneys fight for divorcing spouses to get spousal maintenance. Our Houston family lawyers can also handle other aspects of a divorce case, such as child custody and asset division. Call our law offices today for a case consultation with our Houston and Arlington TX family law attorney at (817) 476-1797.