When a couple is married they often make decisions as a unit and utilize each person’s strengths in different roles to best fit the needs of the family. In some situations, such as when one spouse does not continue his or her education or is out of the work force for an extended period of time, this may leave that individual unable to provide for himself or herself in the event of a divorce.
Paula Lock Smyth Law Offices is a family law firm serving Dallas, Texas, and the surrounding areas, that is committed to fighting for clients who are facing divorce and need support from their spouse.
Texas Spousal Support Statutes
In Texas, laws regarding spousal support have changed, and it is now easier for an individual to secure an award for support during a divorce. However, Texas still has a restricted view of alimony compared to many other states. Texas courts largely view spousal support as a temporary fix to help people get back on their feet after a divorce, rather than a permanent source of income.
When couples come to an agreement about alimony on their own, awards can vary greatly in size and duration. Court-ordered alimony, on the other hand, is available only when a spouse is unable to provide for his or her own minimum reasonable needs, and:
- The recipient of the support suffers from an incapacitating physical or mental disability
- The recipient of the support is providing substantial care and supervision for a child of the marriage who requires it due to a physical or mental disability
- The payer of the support was convicted of a crime of family violence against the spouse or the spouse’s child within two years of the divorce
- The marriage lasted for at least 10 years and the spouse receiving payment can demonstrate that he or she exercised diligence in trying to earn enough money to be self sufficient or in developing necessary skills to do so
Texas law also limits the length of a support award depending on the length of the marriage, except in cases where the spouse is disabled or caring for a disabled child. The award for alimony payments becomes void when either spouse dies or when the recipient remarries or lives continuously with a romantic partner.