Spousal support (alimony or spousal maintenance) is a payment made during or after the divorce from one spouse to the other. Under Texas Family Code Sec. 8.001, spousal support will be awarded when certain criteria are met.
At Orsinger, Nelson, Downing, and Anderson, LLP, we want to make sure you have the information you need to protect your financial interests. Here, our Dallas spousal support lawyers provide an overview of the guidelines for alimony in Texas.
The Partner Seeking Alimony has the Burden of Proving an Award is Appropriate
In Texas, any party to a divorce has the right to request spousal support. However, a Texas court can only award alimony when certain eligibility factors are satisfied. In fact, alimony tends to be somewhat disfavored in Texas.
Our state is unique in that there is a “rebuttable presumption” that alimony is “not warranted” unless the spouse requesting support can prove that they have made a good faith effort to become self-sufficient.
Duration of Alimony in Texas
When granted, the duration of alimony will depend, largely, on the length of the marriage. State law requires Texas courts to follow strict guidelines when determining the duration of alimony payments. With some minor exceptions, spousal support awards are limited at:
- Five Years: Marriage less than 10 years, with a domestic violence conviction.
- Five Years: Marriage between 10 years and 20 years.
- Seven Years: Marriage between 20 years and 30 years.
- Ten Years: Marriage longer than 30 years.
For most marriages that lasted less than 10 years, alimony is presumed to be inappropriate. For these types of “short-term marriages”, the Texas guidelines typically only allow judges to award spousal maintenance if there was a history of abuse.
Calculating an Alimony Award
Texas has a preset formula in place for determining how much spousal support should be awarded in any given divorce case. Once again, Texas courts have somewhat limited discretion in deciding how much spousal maintenance is appropriate.
The general rule is that the paying spouse should pay no more than the lesser of the following two amounts:
- 20 percent of their average monthly net income
- $5,000 per month
In other words, spousal support in Texas is capped at $5,000 per month—regardless of how much money the financially advantaged spouse earns on a monthly basis. Of course, $5,000 is certainly not required.
A person can be obligated to pay no more than 20 percent of their average net monthly income in alimony under the Texas state family law guidelines.
Get Help From Our Spousal Support Attorneys in Dallas
At Orsinger, Nelson, Downing, and Anderson, LLP, our Dallas spousal support lawyers are skilled, results-driven advocates for clients. If you have any questions about the Texas alimony guidelines, we are to help.
For a confidential initial consultation, please contact our law firm now. With the main office in Dallas, we provide family law services in North Texas and beyond.