Knowing when your spouse may be eligible to receive alimony is an important concern that may come up during divorce. Understanding eligibility for alimony, also referred to as spousal maintenance or spousal support, and how much may be awarded and for how long, is useful for many spouses going through the divorce process.
When is a spouse eligible for alimony?
There are generally two ways a spouse may be eligible to receive alimony in Texas. The first way a spouse may be eligible to receive alimony is if the paying spouse was convicted of an act of family violence during the marriage but not more than two years before the divorce or during the divorce process, the other spouse may be eligible to receive alimony. This may also apply if the paying spouse received deferred adjudication for an act of family violence.
The second way that a spouse may be eligible for alimony is if the recipient spouse is unable to earn sufficient income to support their reasonable needs and their inability to do so is due to a physical or mental disability; their inability to do so is due to their custodial responsibilities for a child of the marriage that requires exceptional care due to the child’s physical or mental disability; or the marriage lasted greater than 10 years.
How much can a former spouse receive in alimony and for how long?
A recipient spouse may be able to receive alimony equal to the lesser of $5,000 a month or 20% of the paying spouse’s average gross monthly income. How long the recipient spouse may be able to receive alimony typically depends on the length of the marriage. If the marriage was 10 to 20 years long, or lasted less than 10 years but the paying spouse was abusive, alimony may be awarded for up to 5 years. If the marriage lasted 20 to 30 years, alimony may be awarded for up to 7 years. If the marriage lasted for greater than 30 years, alimony may be awarded for up to 10 years. If the recipient spouse or dependent child is disabled, alimony may be awarded indefinitely.
Alimony is a common topic during many divorces which is why understanding it is so important. This is true for both recipient and paying spouses.