When a Texas couple divorces, one of the most complicated and often contentious issues that will be part of the proceeding is how much alimony – referred to as maintenance in Texas law – one spouse will pay the other. There are many different issues that will go into determining how much, if anything will be paid. Understanding how the law views this is important when going through a divorce.
Once the court decides that maintenance will be paid, there are numerous factors that will be considered. The ability of each spouse to provide for the receiving spouse’s minimum reasonable needs independently when the financial resources are calculated after the marriage has ended will be taken into account. The spouses might have different education and skills for employment. It might take time to acquire the necessary education and training for the spouse who is seeking maintenance to be able to earn enough income. A part of this will be how feasible it is to get that training and education.
The amount of time the couple was married will be looked at. The receiving spouse’s age, history of employment, earning ability, physical and emotional condition will be important. Each spouse will have their ability gauged to provide for the minimum reasonable requirements while also paying to support children if there are any. Some divorces become so difficult that there might be extreme expenditures, the destruction of property, concealing or fraudulent disposition of property – this too is factored in for maintenance.
One spouse’s ability to contribute to the training, education and increasing of earning power of the other spouse is part of the process. A spouse might have contributed as a homemaker, there could have been marital misconduct such as adultery or cruelty by either spouse, and there could have been family violence in the past. All will be viewed in the context of alimony.
Divorce legal issues are not just a matter of signing the papers and ending the union. The end of a marriage can be harsh and maintenance is a frequent issue in dispute. Those who are in the midst of a divorce and are concerned about alimony should speak to a legal professional to prepare and gather information regarding its determination.
Source: statutes.capitol.texas.gov, “Chapter 8. Maintenance — Sec. 8.052. Factors in Determining Maintenance,” accessed on Jan. 11, 2016