What is Alimony?

Alimony (spousal maintenance)  is a legal obligation of one spouse to provide financial support to another spouse. If one spouse was the primary provider for the family before the divorce or separation, this spouse is typically required to provide support to the other spouse to cover any financial issues.

However, in Texas, there are very limited circumstances in which the court will award alimony.

What Circumstances are Necessary for Alimony to be Awarded in Texas?

A divorce can seriously damage the financial situation of one or both persons involved. Consider a spouse who has left the workforce, and dedicated his or her life to being a stay-at-home parent or a caretaker of the home.

Following a divorce, this spouse will be forced to find employment but will have a lot of trouble receiving the same level of salary as was provided to them in their previous lifestyle. This situation only gets more complicated when children are involved.

Those concerned about being able to financially support themselves following a divorce should seek the advice of a divorce attorney to determine what legal options are available, especially pertaining to alimony. In Texas, there are two limited scenarios which may qualify a spouse to receive alimony:

  • If a spouse has been convicted of a violent crime against his or her family.
  • If the marriage has last for a period of 10 years or more.

The spouse seeking alimony support must be able to prove that he or she does not possess enough resources to live within a reasonable parameter. If a spouse is convicted of a violent crime against his or her family, then the date for the divorce petition must have occurred within the period of two years.

Additionally, if there are any children in the family with a disability that may prevent a spouse from employment (because the spouse needs to provide constant care to the disabled child), then alimony can absolutely be sought. Any spouse that is capable of showing his or her inability to earn an adequate living should also be able to receive alimony payments.

However, even in a situation in which the judge does order that alimony be paid, there are still a number of limitations regarding what the spouse can receive, as well as what timeframe the alimony is allowed to continue for.

Angela Stout

Angela A. Stout was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 2007. Ms. Stout has practiced law since 2007, with an emphasis in representing clients in family law matters. She earned her Juris Doctorate degree from South Texas College of Law in May of 2007. Ms. Stout became Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in December of 2015. The Texas Board of Legal Specialization is a specialized group of attorneys that must obtain exceptional experience in a specific area of law, pass a comprehensive exam, and complete ongoing continuing legal education in that specialized area. Additionally, Ms. Stout is certified as a mediator by the A.A. White Dispute Resolution Center.


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