What To Do After Your Former Spouse Moves Away
Even if moving away does not terminate your spousal support arrangement immediately, there are steps you can take to modify or reduce your spousal support payments after your spouse moves away.
Depending on the terms of the original arrangement, seeking a modification of your agreement is something that a divorce attorney can help you do. Until the agreement is renegotiated, though, you must continue making your payments in good faith and upholding your end of the agreement.
How Do I Get Alimony Or Spousal Support In Texas
Does Texas Have Contractual Alimony or Spousal Maintenance? Yes!
In Texas spousal support is additional money, not part of a division of marital property or child support, that one spouse pays to the other temporarily from future income to support the ex-spouse after the divorce. If this money is also paid before the divorce is finalized, it is called temporary spousal support. Spousal support or alimony can be an important source of funds for a parent to pay a mortgage to keep children in the marital home after divorce and to create a qualified stream of income to qualify for a car or home loan. Alimony can enable a former spouse to pay for education or training to return to the work place or to advance his/her skills to become financially self-sufficient and to contribute to children’s needs.
Spouses frequently blame themselves or each other for “creating” or “allowing” the circumstances that now necessitate spousal supoort. Spouses need to remember the actions they took in the past were decisions they made together in their family’s best interests based on the information each of them had at the time. There was no crystal ball that could have foretold divorce, and if there had been, they probably would have made different choices. Ease up on each other. Move forward to understand what options and benefits there are under Federal tax laws and Texas law for spousal support.
What Are Court Ordered Spousal Maintenance and Contractual Alimony in Texas?
Alimony And Spousal Maintenance In Texas
If youve watched a movie or read the news in the past twenty years, it is likely that you have heard the term Alimony. You may be wondering, if I get divorced, will I have to keep paying my ex-wife or ex-husband?
First, there is no alimony in Texas. In Texas, it is called Spousal Maintenance. Spousal maintenance is the payment of money after a divorce to an ex-spouse that is not part of any property award. The purpose of spousal maintenance is to provide temporary support to an ex-spouse after a divorce while they get back on their feet.
There is a two-prong test in Texas to determine if someone is eligible to receive spousal maintenance. 1. The spouse has to show that they lack sufficient property or assets to provide for their minimum reasonable needs and 2. That they have been married for at least ten years, that there was family violence committed during the marriage, or show that they have a physical or mental disability that prevents them from earning income.
If a spouse can show that they meet those two prongs above, they may be entitled to spousal maintenance. There are various factors that go into determining if a spouse is entitled to receive post-divorce spousal maintenance, but the Court will consider the question of eligibility on a case-by-case basis.
However, an award of post-divorce spousal maintenance cannot be more than 20% of the paying spouses monthly income or $5,000.00.
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Alimony In Texas: How Much Is It
If youre getting divorced, the topic of alimony might be on your mind. For example, maybe youve been in a one-income household in your marriage as one partner stayed home to raise the kids. What is the stay-at-home-spouse going to do financially after the marriage dissolves? Understanding Alimony in Texas is essential if youre expecting to pay or receive spousal support, as Texas law is actually pretty unique in this regard.
When youre thinking about alimony, theres probably one question thats particularly on your mind: how much is it?
The answer to that is: it depends. If you receive alimony that is ordered by the court, there are limits on how much alimony you receive each month and for how long. On top of that, there are strict qualifications you have to meet to even be able to receive alimony through a court order.
On the other hand, how much alimony you receive through a contractual agreement isnt limited by the law. Lets dive into the world of Alimony in Texas to help you understand the most important aspects of spousal support in the Lone Star State.
How Long Can I Expect To Receive Spousal Maintenance Following A Divorce In Texas
According to Abby, this decision is up to the court to decide. As she explains, The court has complete discretion regarding the duration of spousal maintenance, but there are caps. According to the statute, the court may not order maintenance that remains in effect more than five years if the couple has been married 10 years, seven years if married for 20 years and 10 years if married for 30 years or more.
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So What Should You Remember About Texas Alimony
You are not guaranteed spousal maintenance. If you have been married for over 10 years, if there is domestic violence in your relationship, if there is a significant wage disparity between you and your spouse, or if there is an existing marital agreement, then you may be eligible for spousal maintenance. If your soon-to-be former spouse is alleging you are owed nothing and you meet one or more of these factors, you should contact a family law attorney as soon as possible.
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Is It Hard To Get Alimony In Texas
The state of Texas does not generally favor spousal maintenance, and the laws of the Lone Star State are quite narrow when it comes to court-ordered alimony when compared to other states. The spouse that is asking to receive spousal maintenance has to fulfill the qualifications listed above in order for a court to consider awarding them maintenance.
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Reporting Taxable Alimony Or Separate Maintenance
If you paid amounts that are considered taxable alimony or separate maintenance, you may deduct from income the amount of alimony or separate maintenance you paid whether or not you itemize your deductions. Deduct alimony or separate maintenance payments on Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return or Form 1040-SR, U.S. Tax Return for Seniors , Additional Income and Adjustments to IncomePDF). You must enter the social security number or individual taxpayer identification number of the spouse or former spouse receiving the payments or your deduction may be disallowed and you may have to pay a $50 penalty.
If you received amounts that are considered taxable alimony or separate maintenance, you must include the amount of alimony or separate maintenance you received as income. Report alimony received on Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR PDF) or on Form 1040-NR, U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return PDF). You must provide your SSN or ITIN to the spouse or former spouse making the payments, otherwise you may have to pay a $50 penalty.
Do You Have To Pay Taxes On Alimony Payments
Wondering whether you have to pay taxes on alimony payments is not uncommon. Alimony, also known as spousal support, is paid from one spouse to another after a divorce.
In Texas, alimony can be requested if:
- the marriage lasted longer than 10 years
- the spouse requesting support is disabled or caring for a disabled child and therefore unable to earn reasonable wages or
- the other spouse was convicted of domestic violence within two years of the date the divorce was filed.
Many issues in divorce affect taxes, and a Plano divorce lawyer can help his or her clients understand them during the divorce process. If alimony is paid or received, it must be reported correctly on tax returns of both the spouse paying the support and receiving it.
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Have Questions About Alimony In Texas 11 Things You Need To Know
How alimony is determined varies from state to state. If you and your spouse are calling it quits in Texas, alimony isnt a given. You also shouldnt expect a windfall, even if your spouse is a professional athlete, real estate mogul or oil baron. Dallas Divorce Attorney Abby Gregory answers 11 common questions about spousal support in Texas below.
Staying In A Marriage Because You Fear What Your Post
The first layer that I wanted to discuss today deals with the twin desires for happiness and peace of mind. On the one hand, you may be wanting to get a divorce from your spouse because you have not been happy for a long time. If you are a stay-at-home parent, you feel like although your spouse has provided for you and your children, actions they have taken in recent months justify a divorce. You value your happiness but worry that a divorce will lead to instability for your children.
What if you get a divorce and you have no money to pay for a place to live? What will happen to your kids? Will the judge force the kids to live with your spouse because you cant afford to raise them? How will you get a job when you havent worked in many years? Will employers skip over your resume due to significant gaps in employment? You could have so many concerns that you feel like the benefits of divorce are outweighed by the uncertainty in your post-divorce life. So, you decide to tough it out for the sake of your kids and the sake of your own stable life.
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Amount Of A Texas Alimony Award
How much can a spouse expect to pay or receive when appropriate alimony is determined?
In general, the Texas Family Code states that courts cannot order more alimony than the following each month:
- 20 percent of the spouses average monthly gross income.
The court will award the lesser of the two above amounts.
For example, if a payor spouse earns $5,000 gross each month, that spouse would pay 20 percent of that gross income, or $1,000 per month, to the receiving spouse.
Changes to federal tax law also shift the way in which spouses in Texas will pay taxes on alimony awards. For any divorce finalized on or after January 1, 2019, the spouse who pays alimony will also have to pay taxes on it. In the example cited above, the payor spouse would pay income taxes on the $1,000 per month paid to the receiving spouse, while the receiving spouse would not pay any income taxes on the money received.
Will I Have To Pay My Wife Alimony If We Get Divorced
Boyd Family LawDec. 29, 2021
If you have significant assets, and you are contemplating divorce, one of your biggest concerns may be the financial fallout you go through with the divorce. Along with being worried about the initial division of assets during the divorce itself, you may also need to worry about having to pay alimony after the divorce is finished. Fort Worth high asset divorce attorney Jon Boyd explains some basic guidelines for an alimony award in a Texas divorce.
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How Is Spousal Maintenance Taxed
Divorce tends to precipitate change in many different aspects of life, including how you pay taxes.
The impact of divorce on how one pays federal taxes used to be larger than they currently are, however. Due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 , alimony or maintenance payments that relate to divorce agreements that are dated January 1, 2019, or later are no longer tax-deductible for the individual that is making the payments. Additionally, the spouse that has been receiving maintenance or alimony payments isnt required to report these payments as a source of income.
Before this act went into effect, people receiving alimony had to claim it as income, and people paying alimony could claim it as a deduction.
To understand how spousal maintenance or alimony impacts your taxes at the state level, youll want to consult with a tax professional.
Get A Forwarding Address As Soon As Possible
If your ex has decided to move away, regardless of their reasons, they need to provide you with a new address to send payments to. If they dont, you can continue sending the payments to their last known address and notify your attorney that payments are being returned or not being deposited.
As long as you can prove that youve done your part to stay on top of things, you will have a strong defense if your ex comes back and claims that you missed payments.
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How Long Will Spousal Maintenance Be Paid
However, the Court may order that spousal maintenance remain in effect for as long as the spouse is unable to earn sufficient income to provide for his or her minimum reasonable needs because of a disability or because he or she is a caretaker of a disabled child.
Can Spousal Maintenance Be Modified
Alimony agreements are legally binding documents that must be honored by both partners for their full duration. But court-ordered maintenance in Texas can be modified. You may need to pursue modification if your agreement has become unrealistic considering your current financial capabilities.
Texas law limits maintenance payments to 20% of the paying individual’s average gross monthly income or $5,000, whichever is lower. The exact amount that was ordered to be paid every month depended on multiple factors, including the payor’s salary. If, at any time, the person paying alimony experiences a decrease in salary or other financial change, he or she could request that the court modify the alimony payment. As either partys situation changes over time, these and other factors may be considered in decreasing maintenance. Texas has no law that permits the increase of maintenance, regardless of the severity of the need.
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Contact A Fort Worth Divorce Lawyer To Learn More
At Varghese Summersett Family Law Group, our compassionate attorneys understand the emotional and financial challenges that accompany a divorce. This is why we work so hard to understand our clients social and financial circumstances and to fight for what is most important to them. If you are going through a divorce and have questions about contractual alimony in Texas vs. court-ordered spousal maintenance, do not hesitate to reach out to us at 900-3220 to set up a consultation with a Texas divorce attorney
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Remedies For Breaching An Alimony Provision
The breach of a standard business contract creates a legal cause of action where the non-breaching party may collect compensatory damages for losses that reasonably flowed from the other partys breach. When it came to spousal maintenance or alimony awards in other jurisdictions, the supported spouse could garnish the obligor spouses wages to enforce a spousal support obligation.
However, wage garnishment isnt a traditional contract remedy. Therefore, courts will not allow a spouse to use wage garnishment to enforce a contractual alimony obligation unless the contract itself expressly provides for wage garnishment as a method of addressing nonpayment of alimony. In the end, courts actively avoid imposing involuntary obligations of spousal support on a party but will not interfere with the partys right to assume such an obligation under a valid contract voluntarily.
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How Long Does Alimony Last In Texas
While some states may allow for indefinite alimony payments, Texas places strict limits on the lengths of time and the situations that one spouse will be required to pay the other. The length of time allotted for alimony payments is based on the length of the marriage itself. The maximum amount of time that judges will consider is ten years.
Consider this time table when thinking about your own situation regarding alimony:
- Five years only if the marriage lasted less than ten years and the court ordered alimony because the paying spouse executed an act of family violence, like domestic or child abuse
- Five years if the marriage lasted between ten and 20 years in length
- Seven years if the marriage had a duration of 20 to 30 years
- Ten years if the marriage lasted for 30 or more years
- Regardless of the circumstances, the court MUST limit the order to the shortest time in which the spouse can reasonably earn enough income to meet basic living needs, unless the spouse is unable to do so thanks to a physical or mental disability. Other reasons include the duties associated with taking care of an infant or young child of the marriage, or because the spouse cannot otherwise be self-sufficient.
Your alimony payments can end before the termination date if: