Alimony is the money paid by one spouse to support the other following a divorce. Alimony was much more common in past generations when women often worked less, relying more on the man’s income. Thankfully, that’s changed in recent decades, meaning that alimony is often harder to get, or is granted for shorter periods following a divorce.
Alimony is still granted in cases where one spouse relies entirely on the other’s income, or even if both work but one spouse makes more. To be granted alimony in Texas divorce, the requesting spouse has to show that they meet one or more of the following:
- The marriage lasted 10 years or more, and the requesting spouse does not have the assets to meet a minimal standard of living or find employment due to a physical or mental impairment.
- The marriage lasted 10 years or more, and the requesting spouse does not have the assets to meet a minimal standard of living or find employment because they have a child that requires constant care and supervision.
- The marriage lasted 10 years or more, and the requesting spouse does not have the assets to meet a minimal standard of living or find employment that provides enough income to meet a minimal standard of living.
- The paying spouse has been convicted of domestic violence within the two years prior to divorce papers being filed.
If a requesting spouse meets one or more of the second, third, or fourth points, they could be awarded alimony by a family court. The amount would not be more than 20 percent of the paying spouse’s gross income, and the term would not last longer than three years. If a requesting spouse meets the first requirement listed above, they may be granted permanent alimony.
In some cases, it may also be possible to get temporary alimony if one spouse is unemployed at the time of divorce. There are no set regulations for temporary alimony, but you must be prepared to explain why you need it. Also, once a divorce is finalized, it is extremely difficult to request or change an alimony order, so it’s important that you take care of it before then.