What Factors are Used to Determine Alimony in Texas?

If you’ve ever been through a divorce, you know how much alimony can impact your life. If you’re the one ordered to pay alimony, it can eat up a large chunk of your disposable income. This is why your Houston divorce attorney will fight hard to get alimony in Texas set at a fair amount.

Two of the most hotly contested issues in a divorce are alimony and child support. This is because these are the issues that have to do with money. Once the divorce is final, you won’t have to deal with things like dividing property.

Your house will probably be sold in order to split the equity. If you have little kids, the court may allow the custodial parent to remain in the house until the kids graduate. If this is the case, they’ll have to find some other way to offset the equity in the home.

When it comes to personal property like art and electronics, the court will make sure they’re divided fairly. Your Marital Settlement Agreement will outline how these things are to be divided.

The two things that continue long after the divorce are alimony and child support. This means that the parties often continue to fight over these things for months or years after the divorce has been finalized.

Your Houston divorce attorney will try to get it right the first time. The alimony agreed to in the MSA will be the baseline upon which all future motions are based.

What Factors Help Determine Whether Alimony Has to Be Paid?

Texas is very strict when it comes to alimony. A lot of other states order alimony in cases where the couple was only divorced a few years. In Texas, this isn’t the case. In order to even qualify for alimony in Texas, one of the following two things must be true:

  • You were married for at least ten (10) years
  • One spouse was convicted of domestic violence within two (2) years of the divorce being filed

Even if one of these things are true, that doesn’t mean you’re automatically entitled to alimony. The court is still going to look at other factors.

The spouse requesting alimony must show the following:

  • They aren’t able to financially support themselves without spousal support and maintenance
  • They are not able to maintain full-time employment because of a physical or mental disability
  • There is a child at home with special needs that requires full-time parental care
  • They clearly lack the ability to support themselves in the workplace

Once the court determines that alimony is appropriate, the amount of alimony has to be calculated.

How is Alimony in Texas Calculated?

In most cases, the spouses are able to agree on an alimony amount. They either agree to a monthly amount and duration or they agree to pay a one-time, lump sum alimony payment.

Usually, alimony is agreed to between the parties. The attorneys will go back and forth and determine an amount that is fair to both parties. Very rarely does a judge actually have to calculate alimony.

Whether alimony is negotiated between the parties or a judge makes the determination, the following things are taken into account:

  • Financial resources of the person seeking alimony
  • The education and employment skills of the person requesting support
  • Duration of the marriage
  • The parties’ ages
  • Employment history and earning capacity
  • Mental and physical health
  • Efforts of the person asking for support toward finding a job

After looking at all of these factors, an amount that is fair to both parties will be set. Alimony will be included in the Marital Settlement Agreement.

Alimony payments usually begin the first month after your divorce is finalized.

What Things Can Your Attorney Use to Challenge Alimony in Texas?

Nobody wants to pay alimony. It’s bad enough that you’ve had to split all of your assets. Now you have to write your ex-spouse a check every month? It’s definitely something your Houston divorce attorney will try to challenge.

There are a few things you can use to argue that your spouse isn’t entitled to alimony. Some of these things include:

  • Your spouse is already living with another man
  • Your spouse has an advanced degree but chooses not to work
  • The children are all in school and don’t need supervision
  • Your spouse has already threatened you that she’ll drag the divorce out as long as possible unless you pay her exorbitant alimony
  • Your spouse committed fraud against you during the marriage
  • Your spouse quit her job and is fully able to work but chooses not to
  • Your spouse has a trust fund or other source of funds that she hasn’t disclosed to the court

Call and speak with a Houston divorce attorney today if you have any questions about alimony in Texas.