Recently on our legal forum a user asked, “I have been married for thirty-two years. My husband is a cardiac surgeon in Texas. I have supported him throughout our marriage. I stayed at home, tended to the children, cooked and cleaned, and did everything I could to help him become successful. He came home last night and told me he has had an affair with an internist at the hospital and wants a divorce. I am devastated. I have no job experience, and I am not sure what I am going to do. I am wondering whether I am entitled to spousal support in a Texas divorce?”
Overview of spousal support in Texas divorce
Your story is tragic, although not that uncommon. Women across the United States have spent years supporting their husbands only to have them eventually leave them. The reasons are varied, and some women contribute to the disintegration of their marriages in a variety of ways, but regardless the results are devastating . So let’s take a look support requirements in Texas and whether or not you can expect payment.
What is spousal support?
Previously referred to as alimony, spousal support is financial assistance offered to one spouse as a means of recognizing one’s partners contribution to the marriage, albeit maybe not financial.
Support, if allowed and supported by a state’s laws, allows one partner to receive payment for a specified amount of time to gain financial independence. Spousal support may be granted through a court order or by agreement by the spouses.
Texas divorce and spousal support laws
Under Texas divorce laws, there is generally an assumption that spousal support will not be granted. There are cases, however, where the court will issue a court order for spousal support.
For example, spousal support can be granted if the court determines one spouse has committed family violence against the other within a specified timeframe, if it’s determined the applying spouse does not have sufficient assets and resources to provide for their basic needs and they have a physical or emotional disability, the applying spouse is caring for a special needs child and cannot work, or the spouses were married for 10 years or more and the applying spouse does not have the ability to earn sufficient income.
How much will I receive and how long with my spousal support payments last?
Under current Texas laws, spousal support payments cannot exceed $5,000 per month or “20% of the paying spouse’s average gross monthly income, whichever is less.”
Texas laws also restrict the number of years in which you can receive payment. For example, if you were married between 10 and 20 years you will be eligible for support for five years. If you were married for longer than 30 years, however, you can receive support for 10 years.
Spousal support can, however, be terminated. For example, support will stop if you choose to remarry, if you live with another person in a romantic relationship, or if you die.
You might be eligible for spousal support in Texas, but you won’t receive it forever. With this in mind; it’s important to hire a good lawyer and make sure you are protected in the divorce and your assets are evenly distributed.
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