Determining alimony (spousal maintenance) after a divorce varies by state. In Texas, it is not assured that either party will receive post-divorce financial support from the other, and you also should not expect the alimony payments to be a high amount if your ex-spouse has no financial means. Learn the most common FAQs about alimony below, and contact our Dallas alimony attorney at Orsinger, Nelson, Downing, & Anderson for more information.
How Much Can You Get For Alimony In Texas?
The maximum amount a court can order for alimony in Texas is the lesser of $5,000.00 per month, or 20% of the paying party’s average gross monthly income. So, if your spouse has a significant income and you want alimony, you will not get more than the amounts mentioned above from a court order. Also, you must have been married for at least 10 years to receive maintenance in Texas and be unable to meet your own minimum reasonable needs upon divorce.
What If I Know People Who Get More Alimony Than That?
If you know someone in Texas who receives over $5,000 per month or 20% of the gross monthly income, they probably negotiated contractual alimony as part of the divorce. It could also be that they are receiving the funds in the future in lieu of receiving some asset in the divorce.
If you and your attorney set up a contractual alimony agreement with the other side, there is technically no limit on the amount. Contractual alimony can also last longer and include other financial aspects based on the divorce settlement.
For instance, the alimony payment could change annually or could be decreased after two years; it all depends on what is negotiated and agreed upon. Note that you cannot modify a contractual alimony arrangement absent an agreement to modify that arrangement, while court-ordered spousal maintenance is somewhat modifiable.
How Hard Is It To Get Alimony In Texas?
It may be more complicated than you believe, and that is why you need an experienced Dallas alimony attorney representing you. Alimony in Texas was originally designed for a stay-at-home parent, senior, or “homemaker” who had never worked so they are not destitute after divorce.
If you want to receive alimony after a Texas divorce, you must show the divorce court that you cannot meet your minimum ‘reasonable’ financial needs after the split. This is because the law does not provide alimony to meet your usual standard of living, only what is considered reasonable.
A ‘reasonable’ standard of living usually means having a place to live, a vehicle, gas, and food. So, you probably will not get enough money to pay for extravagant vacations or private education for the children. Further, a Court would expect you to eventually find a job and support yourself, and this may be included in your order in the form of decreasing payments over time or a shorter period for the payments.
Keep in mind also—as a practical matter—that the party who would be paying for the alimony or spousal maintenance needs to earn sufficient income to actually make the payments.
When Is Alimony Terminated In Texas?
Alimony usually terminates when the recipient passes away but does not stop when the payor dies. Therefore, if the payor passes away, alimony payments may have to be paid by their estate.
Alternatively, the payments would end on the date listed in the agreement or ordered by the Court.
Is Alimony Dischargeable In Bankruptcy?
No. Alimony and spousal maintenance payments are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. Even if you declare Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must still pay the support to your ex-spouse.
Can You Get a Lump Sum Alimony Payment In Texas?
Yes. It may even be beneficial to receive a lump sum alimony payment so you are not financially tied to your ex after the divorce.
These are usually negotiated between the attorneys in a case, and various factors are taken into account when setting this amount.
Talk To Our Dallas Alimony Attorneys Today
Getting alimony in Texas is not easy, and you will need a skilled attorney to help you receive financial support from your ex-spouse. Talk to our Dallas alimony attorneys today at Orsinger, Nelson, Downing, & Anderson for answers to your alimony questions.