Divorce can be a stressful and difficult time for all parties involved, from the divorcing couple to their family members. Knowing your rights and legal options regarding alimony payments can help you reach a fair and amicable settlement. Alimony payments, also known as spousal support or maintenance, can be complicated, so knowing the laws in the Lone Star State is important.
What is Alimony?
Alimony is financial support or assistance one spouse provides to another during a divorce or after it has been finalized. It may take many forms, including periodic payments (monthly or bi-weekly) or lump-sum payments. The purpose of alimony is to provide financial assistance to the recipient during this challenging transition period while they are getting back on their feet financially.
How Is Alimony Calculated?
The amount of alimony either party may receive is determined by several factors, such as education, employment, length of your marriage, each partner's income and expenses at the time of divorce, and other relevant information. The court generally looks at many factors before deciding how much money should be paid for spousal support. A knowledgeable family lawyer can help you understand the process of calculating alimony payments in Texas and ensure you receive what you deserve from your ex-spouse.
When Is Alimony Awarded?
Courts generally award alimony when one spouse needs financial support within reason, pending things like division of property and child custody discussions. For one party to receive alimony from another party in Texas, they must prove that:
They were married;
They lack sufficient property to provide for reasonable needs;
Their partner has adequate means;
They lack earning capacity due to limited job skills or education; or
It would otherwise be unfair not to award alimony based on other relevant circumstances.
When deciding whether or not someone deserves spousal maintenance, the court takes into account several elements, such as each spouse's contribution towards marital assets during the marriage, relative economic circumstances post-divorce, child care responsibilities, including any disabled children needing special care, and more. After considering all these aspects, courts will judge whether spousal maintenance should be awarded.
How Long Does Spousal Maintenance Last?
The duration of an alimony payment depends upon its type and typically ranges between 6 months to ten years, depending on circumstances. The duration of spousal maintenance in Texas can vary depending on the specifics of your individual case. Generally speaking, alimony is typically paid for a period of three years or less, but depending on factors such as earning capacity and ability to support oneself, payments may be stretched out over a longer time frame, especially the longer your marriage. Courts also take into account the length of the marriage in order to determine whether or not spousal maintenance should be awarded, with marriages that are shorter in duration typically resulting in shorter periods of alimony.
When I File My Taxes, Do I Have to Pay on My Alimony?
Whether or not you have to pay taxes on alimony will depend on the specific alimony agreement set forth between both parties. Typically, the payer can deduct alimony payments from their taxes, while the recipient must pay taxes on what they receive. However, it's essential to consult with a qualified tax professional and your family lawyer before signing any agreement to ensure you understand your legal obligations.
If you have alimony or spousal support questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at (432) 284-4411. We look forward to hearing from you.