How Is Alimony Calculated In Texas
The court divides the spouses monthly gross income by five to determine the spousal maintenance amount. The result is compared with $5,000, and the lesser of both is fixed as the maintenance amount to be paid. The monthly gross income is calculated by adding all wages and compensation of personal services such as tips, overtime pay, commissions, and bonuses received in a year. The following are then added to the sum:
The final figure is divided by 12 to get the monthly gross income. The following are not included in the calculation of the gross monthly income for spousal maintenance:
- Accounts receivable
- Federal public assistance programs payments
- Workers compensation benefits
- Disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs
How Much Is Alimony In Texas
There are limits to how much alimony can be awarded through the courts, but not for contractual alimony agreements.
The amount of alimony an individual receives after divorce will depend on a number of factors.
First of all, spousal maintenance ordered by a court is bound by a number of limits. Under Texas law, spousal maintenance payments can be no more than 20% of the supporting spouses average monthly income or $5,000, whichever is lower.
As an example, lets say that you make $3,000 a month. This means that you cannot be ordered to pay more than $600 a month.
When it comes to contractual alimony, these rules dont apply. Since this is a private contract between the parties involved, they can negotiate an arrangement that suits them.
In some instances, one spouse might negotiate for life insurance benefits or additional other protections in case the supporting spouse were to unexpectedly pass away.
When divorcing spouses agree to a contractual alimony arrangement, the obligation can be included in the Final Decree of Divorce.
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:
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How Long Does Court
In most cases, spousal maintenance does not last forever. Courts consider the length of the marriage when making an award. Our example above presumed a 15-year marriage. The maximum length of time the architect spouse could receive maintenance payments would be for five years. If the court determines they can be up to speed in their career faster, then the length of time will be shortened.
If this were a 30-year marriage or longer, spousal maintenance could go on for up to 10 years. The only circumstances that can cause spousal maintenance to continue indefinitely is if the spouse with lower income is disabled, or responsible for caring for a disabled childwhich would make ramping up a career virtually impossible.
There are a lot of issues to be considered in spousal maintenance and everything else thats on the table in a divorce settlement. Its the job of your attorney to make sure every factor that works in your favor is understood by the court. AtCoker, Robb & Cannon, Family Lawyers, we have over 20 years of experience handling cases like yours. Well fight for you, and well bring all that experience to bear on your behalf. Call us today at 293-2313orcontact usonline to set up an initial consultation.
Factors For Determining Maintenance Awards In Texas
Texas law begins every maintenance case with the presumption that spousal maintenance is not appropriate. However, if requesting spouses can demonstrate they have made a good faith effort to earn an income or acquire the education or training necessary to become financially independent during the separation and divorce process , the court will move forward with a maintenance evaluation.
The court will evaluate the following factors to determine the nature, amount, duration, and payment method of support:
- each spouse’s ability to provide for that spouse’s reasonable needs
- the education and employment skills of both spouses, the time necessary to acquire education or training to enable the supported spouse to earn enough income to become financially independent
- the duration of the marriage
- the age, employment history, earning ability, and physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance
- if child support is a factor in the case, each spouse’s ability to meet needs while paying child support
- whether either spouse wasted, concealed, destroyed, or otherwise disposed of any community property
- whether either spouse contributed to the other’s education, training, or increased earning power during the marriage
- the property both spouses brought to the marriage
- any contributions of a spouse as a homemaker
- marital misconduct, including adultery and cruel treatment, by either spouse during the marriage, and
- any history or pattern of family violence.
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Texas Alimony Law Restrictive As Compared To That Of Most Other States
In Texas, the court is restricted in its power to grant spousal support by state statute.
Texas makes it relatively difficult to get an award of alimony ordering the payment of support from one ex-spouse to the other after divorce. Even if a spouse meets the narrow qualification standards, the amount and duration is likely to be stringent.
Another option for a Texas couple ending marriage is to negotiate a contract for alimony-like support payments. A private contract allows them to create their own arrangement that is not bound by the strict requirements of Texas law. If a private contract is not negotiated, the judge in the divorce will decide alimony issues.
Any Texan contemplating divorce should speak with an experienced family law attorney about alimony, whether likely to be the obligee or the obligor , to understand the pros and cons of contractual alimony or whether court-ordered alimony is a possibility.
In San Antonio, the attorneys at Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P., represent divorce clients in many issues.
What Is Spousal Maintenance
Spousal maintenance is the term used in Texas to refer to court-ordered payments. As discussed above, awarding spousal maintenance in a divorce case occurs on a case-by-case basis.
The court will consider any and all relevant factors if a spouse is eligible for spousal maintenance. This can include factors such as:
- The employment skills and education of both spouses
- The financial resources that each party will have once the divorce is final
- How long it would take the supported spouse to receive the education or training they need in order to earn enough money to meet their basic needs
- The availability as well as the feasibility of this type of training or education
Additional factors that can come into play include the age and health of the spouses, how long the marriage lasted, and the way that the spouses treated each other in the marriage.
In order to receive spousal maintenance, the spouse seeking support has to demonstrate that they have been searching for educational, training, and employment opportunities with diligence.
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Can Spousal Support Be Modified By The Court
No. Since Spousal Support is a contract between the spouses, the Court does not have the authority to modify Spousal Support.
If you are unsure whether you qualify for spousal maintenance, have a question about a current obligation, or need help enforcing a maintenance order, reach out to a knowledgeable Modern Family Law attorney who can guide you through the process.
Usually Tied To Length Of The Marriage
Many questions swirl inside your head when thinking about divorce, money and alimony. Will you be able to maintain the same standard of living and previous lifestyle when you were married? Will you have to obtain a full- or part-time job? And of course, how long can I expect to receive alimony?
Here is a breakdown of how long to expect to receive alimony along with descriptions since Texas has specific guidelines related to alimony:
- Up to five years in two scenarios. The first is if your marriage lasted 10 years and your spouse was abusive. The other if your marriage lasted between 10 and 20 years.
- Up to seven years if your marriage lasted between 20 and 30 years.
- Up to 10 years if your marriage lasted more than 30 years.
- In cases in which a dependent child is disabled, alimony may be indefinite.
You understand that you, too, will have to make certain changes in your financial life. More decisions decisions that you must make independently are on the horizon for you. And some of those decisions may have a direct link to the length of time you will receive alimony.
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What If I Have A Prenup
In Texas, couples are allowed to create a binding agreement in regards to alimony in their prenuptial agreement. Prenups are a contract that soon-to-be spouses sign in contemplation of marriage. These contracts usually control how property will be divided in the case of divorce.
Prenups in Texas can include agreements between prospective spouses to:
- Create a set level of support
- Cost of living adjustments for alimony
- Any other matter that impacts alimony
Texas courts will enforce prenups so long as the contract is in writing, doesnt have to be supported by consideration, and was created in contemplation of marriage. In order to be enforceable, these contracts also must have been signed voluntarily by both spouses and they must not be unconscionable, meaning its egregiously unfair.
Is Alimony Automatically Awarded In Texas
In the State of Texas, alimony is referred to as “spousal support” or “spousal maintenance.” Spousal support aims to help the supported spouse meet their basic needs, and it is generally awarded in situations where the supported spouse will have trouble doing so post-divorce. Alimony is not automatic in Texas and instead is decided on a case-by-case basis. There are four conditions under which spousal support may be awarded.
First, when the supporting spouse has been convicted of domestic violence or abuse against the requesting spouse or their children within the two years before the divorce filing or during the divorce. Second, when the couple has been married for ten years, and when the requesting spouse is disabled, cares for a disabled child, or lacks sufficient property or income to meet their basic, reasonable needs. Third, when both parties agree to a spousal support plan. And fourth, when the requesting spouse is a sponsored immigrant and chooses to enforce the Affidavit of Support executed by their spouse.
When determining earning capacity and how it affects alimony, the courts will consider many factors, including:
- The property awarded to each party after their divorce
- The education level of each party
- The employment skills of each party
- Whether the requesting spouse requires additional training or education and how long that will take
- Whether additional training or education is available or feasible for the requesting spouse
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Top 10 Things To Know About Texas Alimony Payments
Spousal Maintenance is a court-ordered payment to your former spouse following a divorce. Factors such as the length of your marriage and the difference in earnings between former spouses all contribute to the amount of spousal maintenance a Judge may award. Texas, unlike other states, is distinctive as the law limits the amount of spousal maintenance that can be awarded to a spouse. This article outlines 10 things you should know about Spousal Maintenance and Spousal Support in Texas.
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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When Does Alimony End In Texas
If you are getting divorced and your spouse is seeking alimony, you may have some questions about its duration. How long your alimony order lasts will depend on the details of your marriage, including domestic violence and whether it was a long-term marriage. Continue reading to find out more about the factors that determine when alimony ends.
Spousal Support In Texas: Calculating The Amount
The maximum amount of spousal maintenance that a court may order is 20% of the paying spouses average monthly gross income, or $5,000.00 per month, whichever is less. Tex. Fam. Code § 8.055. The Texas Family Code defines in great detail what is and what is not included in gross income for purposes of calculating spousal maintenance. Tex. Fam. Code § 8.055 .
It is important to remember that is the maximum amount allowed and not a required amount spouses are free to agree on an amount that differs from this calculation.
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What If Im The One Paying Spousal Support But My Financial Circumstances Have Significantly Reversed Can Spousal Maintenance Be Modified In Texas
According to Abby, a Dallas divorce lawyer who represents affluent, high-net-worth individuals in Texas, In order to secure a modification of spousal maintenance, you need to present a proper showing of a material and substantial change to your income.
Say you were earning $1 million a year and now earn less than $100 thousand, or youre on disability insurance and can no longer work, or your spouse is now working and earns more money, these may be some scenarios where the court might agree to modify your spousal maintenance agreement. As noted earlier, contractual alimony CANNOT be modified.
Spousal Support In Texas: What You Should Know
Spousal support, more commonly known as alimony, is paid by one former spouse to the other to help support their ex-partner financially. Spousal support is completely separate from child support and can be paid whether or not there are children involved in the divorce. While some people may think alimony is a relic from another time, it may still be paid depending on the circumstances of a divorce. There are many things couples should be aware of regarding spousal support in Texas, including the following:
1. There Is a Presumption Against Spousal Support.
In Texas, family courts presume spousal support will not be provided unless one of the parties involved in a divorce seeks financial support and can demonstrate that it is necessary. This means the courts will not award spousal support without it being requested and proved up. A party seeking spousal support must make their case to the court to show they require this type of financial assistance. That party, unless disabled or unless family violence is involved, will also have to show the court that they are trying to obtain consistent employment and that the spousal support will be temporary.
2. What Qualifies a Former Spouse for Spousal Support?
3. What Types of Spousal Support Exist?
4. What Is the Maximum Amount of Spousal Support?
5. How Long Does an Ex-Spouse Have to Pay Spousal Support?
Eligibility For Alimony In Texas
The divorcing parties may agree to spousal support, regardless of the circumstances, but there are specific requirements relating to demands for alimony. The spouse requesting support must first establish their eligibility for alimony. To qualify for alimony, the petitioning spouse must show that they cannot afford to support their minimum reasonable needs. In addition, one of two conditions must apply:
- The paying spouse was convicted or received deferred adjudication for an act of family violence committed either:
- During the marriage but no more than two years before the suit for divorce or
- During the pendency of the divorce itself.
- Or, the spouse seeking maintenance is unable to earn sufficient income to support their reasonable needs and:
- Their inability is due to physical or mental disability
- Their inability is due to their responsibility as the custodian of a child of the marriage who needs exceptional care due to their physical or mental disability or
- The marriage lasted 10 or more years.
If one of the conditions to qualify for alimony is met, the court will then determine the amount and duration of support.
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.
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