Spousal support, also known as spousal maintenance or alimony, will be awarded by a Texas family court judge in a divorce case after careful consideration of the parties’ circumstances and the facts of the dispute.
Spousal support is the legal term used to describe the payments that one spouse pays to the other after the parties separate or divorce. Such payments are not automatic simply because one spouse out-earned the other during the marriage. There are a number of factors the Texas family courts consider when determining whether an award of spousal support is proper.
In determining eligibility for spousal support, the courts determine whether the spouse who has requested support has adequate resources to support oneself–for example, whether the spouse has property that may be sold or if the spouse has a significant amount of cash.
If the court determines that the spouse does not have enough property to make a reasonable living, several more points will be considered. The family courts will inquire as to whether the spouse that will be paying spousal support has committed a crime of family violence. Additionally, the courts will examine whether the spouse seeking support is unable to earn enough income due to some sort of disability or because the spouse cares for the disabled children of the parties. The courts will also ask if the parties have been married for at least ten years before further considering spousal support.
After the court has determined that a party is eligible for support, additional factors will be examined, such as the education level of the parties, the health of the parties, how each party’s actions affected property (such as whether one party destroyed a piece of property), the parties’ contributions to the marriage, marital misconduct, and other factors the court deems proper.