Alimony In Texas: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

Spousal Support Attorney

Alimony, actually known as spousal maintenance in Texas, is decided on a case-by-case basis. If you and your spouse are divorcing, it is not assumed that one partner will receive any payments from the other. Understanding spousal maintenance awards in Texas is essential to prepare you for the future. Speak to a Dallas spousal support attorney at Orsinger, Nelson, Downing, & Anderson today.

It Is More Difficult To Qualify For Support In Texas Than You Think

Alimony laws in Texas were originally made to support a stay-at-home spouse who had never worked their entire life but had contributed to the household in other ways. If you are wanting spousal maintenance after a Texas divorce, you generally must show that:

  1. You cannot meet your minimum ‘reasonable’ needs after the divorce; and
  2. Either:
    • You were married to your spouse for at least ten years; or
    • You are unable to meet your minimum reasonable needs because of an incapacitating disability to you or a child from the marriage to your spouse.

It is important to note that the statute does allow a court to order spousal support to uphold any particular standard of living. The courts see ‘reasonable’ needs as a car, a roof over your head, food, and gas in the car.

While agreements can be reached on alternative terms, a Court does not on its own award alimony so that you can afford private school for your children or eat out at your favorite restaurants every day. In addition, legal experts caution that getting spousal support in Texas takes work, both on the legal and personal fronts. Even if a court awards spousal maintenance, courts will only award maintenance for as long as it reasonably takes for you to get a job or otherwise provide support for yourself.

What About Being Out Of The Workforce For Years?

Suppose you have not worked for more than 10 years when you were employed at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science or the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. But after that, you did not need to work for years because of your spouse’s income. Even if you have not worked for years, the state of Texas expects you to support yourself after the divorce, which usually means a return to the workforce.

Alternatively, you should take the time while receiving spousal support to get training or education to develop skills for a return to work. Oftentimes, this can be a successful argument to make in favor of spousal maintenance—that you need support for a period to start your business or finish your education.

What Happens If You Are Paying Alimony And Your Financial Circumstances Change?

Situations arise where the ex-spouse paying alimony has a change of financial circumstances. They cannot afford the original court-ordered payment anymore. For example, suppose you were making $250,000 per year, but due to a layoff or downturn, you have your hours reduced and only make $100,000 this year.

You can file a request for the Court to modify spousal maintenance. To get the court to lower your payment amount, you must prove there has been a material and substantial change to your monthly income—or, in a rare situation, to the receiving spouse’s. Also, remember that declaring bankruptcy will not get you out of your alimony or spousal maintenance obligations; those debts are “domestic” obligations and are not dischargeable.

Speak To A Dallas Spousal Support Attorney Today

Post-divorce support is one of the most contentious issues when you are getting divorced. Fortunately, the Dallas spousal support attorneys at Orsinger, Nelson, Downing & Anderson lawyers can help you. Our attorneys work in the cities of Dallas, Frisco, and San Antonio. Please contact our Dallas spousal support lawyers at (214) 273-2400.