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Frequently Asked Questions About Spousal Support in Texas Divorce Cases

Posted on in Spousal Support

TX alimony lawyerSpouses who are going through the divorce process will need to address multiple different types of legal and financial issues. The laws surrounding divorce can be complicated, but by working with an experienced attorney, a person can gain a full understanding of their rights and obligations, and they can determine the best ways to achieve their goals. Spousal support, which is commonly known as alimony and referred to as spousal maintenance in Texas law, is one issue that spouses will often have questions about. These questions may include:

When Is a Person Eligible to Receive Spousal Support?

Typically, a spouse will only be able to receive maintenance if they do not own enough assets, including marital property awarded to them during their divorce and separate property owned independently of the other spouse, to reasonably provide for their minimal ongoing needs. If this is the case, spousal support may be awarded in the following situations:

  • The couple was married for at least 10 years, and the spouse who is asking for support is currently unable to earn a sufficient level of income to provide for their needs.
  • The spouse who is asking for support has a physical or mental disability that has caused them to be unable to earn a sufficient level of income.
  • The spouse who is asking for support is the custodial parent of a child that has a physical or mental disability, and providing care for the child has caused the spouse to be unable to earn a sufficient level of income to meet their needs.
  • The spouse who would be paying support was convicted of a family violence offense within two years before the divorce petition was filed or during the course of the divorce case.

As part of their divorce settlement, spouses may also agree that one party will pay spousal support to the other. This is known as contractual alimony.

How Is the Amount of Spousal Support Determined?

If a court determines that a spouse is eligible to receive maintenance, it may consider multiple factors to determine an appropriate amount that will be paid on an ongoing basis. A judge will look at both spouses’ age, health, education, employment skills, and the separate property they own. The judge may also consider whether one spouse contributed to the other’s education or career advancement, a spouse’s contributions to their marriage as a homemaker, whether one spouse concealed or dissipated marital assets, marital misconduct such as adultery or cruel treatment by either spouse, and whether a spouse has a history of family violence.

The maximum amount of spousal support that a person will be required to pay is 20% of their average gross monthly income or $5,000 per month, whichever amount is lower. In cases involving contractual alimony, spouses may agree on an appropriate amount that will be paid.

How Long Will Spousal Support Be Paid?

In cases where spouses were married for less than 20 years, spousal support will usually last for a maximum of five years. For marriages of 20-30 years, maintenance may last for up to seven years, and for marriages of more than 30 years, spousal support may last for up to 10 years. However, if a spouse has a physical or mental disability or is caring for a minor or adult child who has a disability, maintenance may last for as long as the recipient is eligible to receive support.

Spousal support will be terminated upon the death of either spouse or the remarriage of the recipient. Maintenance may also be terminated if the recipient begins cohabiting with a dating partner in a permanent residence.

How Is Spousal Support Taxed?

For divorces finalized on January 1, 2019, or later, spousal support is taxed the same as child support. A spouse who pays spousal maintenance cannot deduct these payments from their income, and the payments will not be considered taxable income for the recipient.

Contact Our Austin Spousal Support Lawyers

If you have any additional questions about spousal support or other divorce-related issues, the lawyers of Powers and Kerr, LLC can help you understand the laws that apply to your case. We will work with you to determine the best way to approach spousal maintenance, and we will advocate for your interests throughout the divorce process. Contact our Austin alimony attorneys today by calling 512-610-6199.

 

Sources:

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/FA/htm/FA.8.htm

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2020/02/10/taxes-2020-divorce-alimony-child-support-tax-rules-have-changed/4680569002/

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