Alimony, or spousal maintenance as it is called in Texas, is a periodic payment made from one spouse to the other and generally comes from the paying spouse’s income. Texas residents may be aware that when a marriage comes to an end a spouse may be eligible to receive alimony from their soon to be ex-spouse. This is particularly true if the receiving spouse does not have enough property at the time of divorce to take care of his or her basic needs. You may be unaware, however, that in addition to being unable to meet basic needs, Texas spouses need to fulfill certain other criteria to become eligible to receive maintenance.
The Texas Family Code section 8.051 lays out four circumstances under which a receiving spouse must fit in order to receive maintenance. This is in addition to what was mentioned above. Firstly, if one spouse has been convicted of committing violence against the other spouse or their children, and that violence either happened two years before the divorce action was filed or while the divorce was pending, then the receiving spouse becomes eligible to receive maintenance. If the receiving spouse is unable to earn enough money to meet their basic needs because of a physical or mental disability, or the child from their marriage requires additional care due to a mental or physical disability, then they become eligible to receive maintenance. Lastly, if the couple was married for 10 or more years and the receiving spouse cannot earn enough to cover their basic needs, then they, too, may become eligible to receive maintenance.
Texas residents may also be unaware that there is a presumption against spousal maintenance. This means the court assumes that neither party needs to pay the other party maintenance once the marriage comes to an end. The party seeking maintenance must disprove this assumption by showing they have made a good faith effort to either earn an income or develop skills that would help him or her earn money. There is one exception to this presumption, and that is when there is family violence involved during divorce proceedings.
Many spouses going through a divorce have given up their careers for one reason or another and find themselves facing financial instability in the wake of a divorce. Spousal maintenance may be one way they can maintain their current living style without having to worry about making ends meet.
Source: Texas Family Code, http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/FA/htm/FA.8.htm, Accessed on May 25, 2015