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How does a spouse qualify for alimony?

Laws found in the Texas statutes describe the ways a state court judge can decide if a spouse may qualify to receive alimony. If a spouse makes a request for alimony, the court considers whether that spouse has sufficient financial resources to pay for basic expenses. Certain other specific conditions will also be considered, such as whether domestic violence took place during the marriage or if one spouse is disabled.

Once a spouse is found to be eligible to receive alimony, the family law court decides how long alimony must be paid and how much the payments will be. The court considers whether each spouse will be able to support themselves after the divorce. The age of the spouse asking for alimony, as well as their previous employment and ability to earn a living will be taken into consideration. Texas courts also look at the monetary and non-monetary contributions made by each spouse during the marriage.

The length of the marriage can affect how long an award for alimony must be paid. With a longer marriage, alimony must generally be paid longer as well. Either spouse can request a modification of an order to pay alimony. The amount of alimony cannot be more than $5,000 or 20 percent of the average income earned by the spouse each month, depending on which is the lesser amount.

The requirement to pay alimony ends when one spouse dies or if the spouse receiving alimony marries again. The court may end alimony payments if the spouse receiving them is involved in an ongoing, long-term relationship. Posts on this blog should not be considered legal advice. A family law attorney may be able to provide more information about alimony.

Source: Texas constitution and statutes, "Subchapter B. Spousal Maintenance", October 07, 2014

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