Courts Consider Many Factors
In Texas, there is no hard and fast rule for predicting whether alimony will be awarded in any given case. Instead, divorce judges consider multiple factors to decide whether alimony is appropriate, including:
- The age of the husband and wife
- Misconduct of either party which led to the breakdown of the marriage
- Each party’s education
- Earning capacity of the husband and wife
- Anticipated post-divorce monthly expenses
How Is Alimony Calculated In The State Of Texas
Alimony, or spousal maintenance as it is called in the Texas Family Code, is a hotly-contested component of most divorce cases in Texas. For many entering this confusing and troubling time, how spousal maintenance is determined can weigh heavily on the mind. The financial burden or benefit can factor greatly into your quality of life after the marriage is dissolved.
To help understand the basics of this critical point of contention, I will elaborate on how alimony is calculated in Texas and what to prepare for as you proceed through a divorce.
It is important to remember that divorce is a complex process made harder by the mental and emotional toll it takes on those involved. It is critical to reach out to a family law expert to help navigate the unique legalities of your situation so that your rights are fully protected, whether you will be receiving alimony or paying it.
As a family law professional, I will work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the alimony settlement you deserve.
Contact Blair Parker For Support With Spousal Support
If youre going through a divorce, you may have serious financial concerns. Whether you are expecting to be obligated to make spousal maintenance payments, or if you are concerned about how much you will receive as the recipient, I can provide legal support for you.
I provide legal representation to either side of a divorce and can help you better understand how spousal support is calculated so that you can set financial expectations for yourself.
Ill also work hard to ensure that you receive fair treatment from the court when spousal maintenance is determined. For the past decade, I have helped spouses in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, and Harris County arrive at the best possible financial position following a divorce.
to find legal representation during your divorce case. Im here to help you during this stressful time.
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Enforcement: Options When Non
Failure to comply with a spousal maintenance court order in Texas is a serious offense and may result in severe penalties.
Spouses who arent receiving timely payments can file a motion to enforce and/or a motion for contempt. This may result in bank liens, mandatory withholding from an employer, and in some cases, jail time.
I Havent Had A Job Outside The Home For Many Years Does The State Of Texas Really Expect Me To Go Back To Work
If you are capable of finding work to provide for your minimum reasonable needs, yes, you need to get a job or make preparations to reenter the workforce.
As Abby explains, Just because you have been out of the workforce for 20 years, that doesnt mean you cant find a job as a receptionist or office manager or the like, especially if you have a college degree.
However, you may be able to present a compelling argument to the court that youre starting your own business, taking night classes, enrolled in nursing school, finishing your law degree, etc., and need support for a set period of time to complete coursework and then find a job. You need to have a detailed plan and timeline.
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by Jimenez Law Firm | Jan 20, 2022
Sometimes a divorce in Texas will result in contractional alimony. This is a payment made by one spouse to the other during and after the divorce process. Here in Texas, these payments are often referred to as spousal maintenance or spousal support. Well dive into who can get spousal maintenance in Texas and how these maintenance payments are calculated.
Texas Divorce : Alimony Vs Spousal Support In Texas
When facing a divorce in Texas, a common question is whether a spouse can be awarded alimony. The term alimony is often confused with spousal maintenance or spousal support. While alimony is not specifically provided for under Texas law as an entitlement, it is still a possibility by agreement. Although the Texas Family Code provides eligibility for spousal maintenance in certain situations, there are specific requirements. The construct of spousal maintenance is also different from alimony. This article is aimed at explaining the basics of alimony vs spousal maintenance in Texas and pointing out the distinctions between the two.
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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?
Texas Spousal Support Laws
Texas family courts hold a presumption against spousal maintenance during divorce as alimony is not mandatory. The family court will only arrange spousal support if one of the spouses pursues maintenance as part of the marital settlement and demonstrates a need for payments. Family courts prefer spouses to arrange maintenance payments privately through contracts.
Spouses may seek court-ordered alimony if they do not arrange spousal support payments privately. Spouses eligible to receive alimony must request spousal maintenance from the court.
To be eligible for spousal maintenance:
- The requesting spouse must lack sufficient property to provide for their minimum reasonable needs due to:
- A physical or mental disability,
- Their role as the primary caretaker of a disabled child, or
- Lack of earning ability and
- The marriage lasted at least ten years or
- The paying spouse was convicted of family violence committed during the marriage or while the divorce suit was pending.
Related: How Domestic Violence Affects Alimony: Family Code 4320
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How Long Does Alimony Last
The duration of alimony will depend in large part on the circumstances of the marriage. Typically, the court will set the shortest duration of alimony possible that still grants the recipient spouse a reasonable amount of time to earn enough money to meet their monthly expenses. The court may order additional time if the spouse is caring for an infant, caring for a child of the marriage that has a disability, has a disability themselves, or some other compelling reason prevents the spouse from earning their own income. If indefinite alimony is awarded due to one of these conditions, the paying spouse is entitled to periodic review by the court to evaluate whether the condition meriting perpetual alimony continues to exist.
Outside of indefinite alimony based on the disability of the spouse or a shared child, the law imposes caps on the maximum duration of alimony depending on the basis for the award:
- If the award is based on family violence and the parties have been married less than ten years, or the parties have been married between 10 and 20 years, then the maximum duration is five years.
- If the parties have been married between 20 and 30 years, alimony is capped at seven years.
- If the parties have been married for more than 30 years, alimony is capped at ten years.
Are Alimony Payments Taxable
With the Trump Administrations Tax Cuts and Job Acts taking place on January 1, 2019, those seeking divorces after December 31, 2018 should understand how their alimony may be affected. The new law is a change from the former law that let American taxpayers deduct alimony from their taxes.
Previously, the law let the spouse who was paying the support take the deduction, and the one receiving the payment was taxed according to the income bracket that suited them. For divorces or modifications sought after December 31, 2018, the spouse paying the alimony can no longer take a deduction for it, and the spouse receiving the alimony will no longer be taxed on the support received.
This new law ONLY applies to divorces that get finalized after December 31, 2018. So, long as the divorce order is signed after 2019, the order will be affected by this change.
The spousal support, or alimony deduction, has been in place for decades, and was used as something of an incentive for high earning spouses who wanted to take advantage of tax-related benefits that came with said law.
Not having this particular benefit there could make divorces increasingly contentious if one spouse earns more than the other. If one spouse requests support, the other spouse will be more likely to fight that request if there is no benefit coming back to them.
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What Is Spousal Support In Texas
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.
What is the maximum amount of spousal maintenance in Texas?
Maximum Court Ordered Spousal Maintenance in Texas. The cap on court ordered spousal maintenance in Texas is set by statute. The amount of spousal maintenance the judge orders a spouse to pay involuntarily cannot be more than $5000 per month or 20% of the paying spouses average monthly gross income, whichever is lower.
If Your Spouse Is A Sponsored Immigrant
In this case, the sponsored immigrant spouse could enforce the Affidavit of Support that was signed by the other spouse at the time of sponsorship. The immigrant spouse can then ask the court to order the sponsoring spouse to provide them with money in the form of 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. This would be in effect until the immigrant spouse becomes a U.S. citizen or the immigrant spouse has earned 40 credits of work history.
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Court Ordered Spousal Maintenance And Taxes In Texas
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 greatly impacted spousal support payments. Prior to 2019 former spouses paying alimony after filing for divorce could deduct these payments from their income. The former spouse they were making the payments to then reported the alimony as income and paid taxes.
However, for court orders that were finalized on or after January 1, 2019, these payments are not considered income for the recipient. This means that the spouse making the payments no longer be tax-deductible. As they would no longer be able to make the payments tax-free, their income would be taxed without the deduction at their current tax rate.
Law Office Of Bryan Fagan Pllc
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it’s important to speak with one of our Houston, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our divorce lawyers in Houston TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble,Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County,Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.
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Working With A Texas Alimony Lawyer
If you are going through a divorce in Texas, it is crucial that you discuss alimony with a skilled attorney. A Texas alimony lawyer can help you gather evidence needed to support your case, and will work towards a resolution that is in your best interest and the best interest of your loved ones. Contact the Bourlon Law Firm today at 289-6040.
Alimony In Texas: Your Complete Guide
Alimony laws are a complicated set of rules, which can drastically vary from state to state. In particular, Texas has very clear guidelines about the circumstances surrounding any potential alimony payments you could receive due to your impending split.
For spouses who are considering petitioning the courts or working through the negotiation process for alimony, you will want to clearly understand the qualifications, amounts, and duration of payments you could reasonably expect to receive.
What are the basics you need to consider when requesting alimony payments in Texas? In this article, you will find out what the state laws allow.
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Factors That Affect Spousal Support In Texas
Family courts will consider several factors when awarding spousal support. These factors will determine the amount of maintenance, maintenance frequency, and the length of maintenance.
To determine if a spouse lacks earning ability to provide for their minimum reasonable needs and decide the length of spousal maintenance, the court will take into account:
- The financial resources available to spouses following property division,
- The education and employment skills of both spouses, and
- The time, availability, and feasibility of spouse obtaining sufficient education or training
When determining the monetary award itself, the courts basis relies on what each spouse contributed to the marriage. Courts will consider:
- The age of the spouse requesting maintenance,
- Employment history,
How To Avoid Paying Alimony In Texas
Chapter 8 of the Texas Family Code dissuades issuing of spousal maintenance orders except in rare cases. Even where it is issued, some conditions permit rescinding the order. The court will not order spousal maintenance or will revoke a spousal maintenance order if any of the following are present:
- An agreement between the divorcing parties to discard alimony
- Evidence of marriage of the spouse seeking maintenance to another person
- Evidence that shows that the spouse seeking maintenance is romantically involved with another person and they cohabit
- Proof that the spouse seeking maintenance can provide for their basic needs
- Evidence that the spouse seeking maintenance is extravagant and wasteful
- Evidence that the spouse ordered to pay maintenance cannot provide maintenance
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Is Spousal Support Mandatory In Texas
No, spousal support is not mandatory in Texas. In the case of a divorce where a spouse is seeking spousal support, the judge will ensure that the situation meets the requirements laid out in Texas law in order to qualify for spousal support. Whether or not spousal support will be awarded, is dependent on whether the spouse seeking support meets a strict set of guidelines.
In Texas, spousal support legally referred to as spousal maintenance is a two-step process for determining if, when, and how long you might have to pay.
Texas Is Arguably The Hardest State In Which To Get Alimony In Divorce
While eligibility for spousal support is narrow and duration and amount restricted, marital misconduct may be taken into account in setting the award.
Spousal maintenance, traditionally called alimony, is the payment of monetary support from one ex-spouse to the other, and in Texas, as compared with most other states, the law severely restricts who is eligible for spousal maintenance after divorce.
Although court-ordered alimony is difficult to get in Texas, the parties to a divorce may negotiate a contract for the payment of alimony that contains terms more generous than a judge could order under the law. Because of the narrow grounds for spousal maintenance in the divorce law, negotiation of alimony as a contractual obligation can become an important consideration between divorcing spouses in Texas.
However, if the issue ends up before a court in a divorce proceeding, the court does not have nearly as much discretion as courts in many other states do to craft alimony awards. To be eligible to receive spousal maintenance in Texas, the spouse seeking maintenance must show that he or she will not have sufficient property after divorce to provide for his or her minimum reasonable needs. If he or she will have sufficient property to pay or his or her minimum reasonable needs, he or she is not eligible for spousal maintenance.
If minimum reasonable needs cannot be met independently by the spouse seeking maintenance, one of these must also be true:
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