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What are the qualifications to receive alimony?

When there is a disparity between the income or earning potential of two spouses, Texas law provides for spousal maintenance for the lower-earning spouse. However, this process is not automatic, so the party wanting spousal support must petition the court for it.

Spousal support may be part of a complex divorce or even part of a more straight-forward divorce. It is awarded to a party if he or she will not have sufficient property to provide for his or her minimal needs upon the dissolution of the marriage. One qualification for the receipt of spousal maintenance is that the other spouse has been convicted of a crime involving domestic violence within two years of the request for support. Another is that the party requesting alimony had been married to the other spouse for at least 10 years and lacks the ability to earn a sufficient amount of money to meet his or her reasonable needs.

Courts consider many factors when determining whether or not to award spousal support. For example, the court considers the value of the separate property the petitioning spouse will have upon the dissolution of the marriage. Additionally, the court considers the length of the marriage, the earning ability of both spouses, their education, their employment history, the value of homemaking services provided by a spouse and whether the petitioning spouse contributed to the education or increased earning potential of the other spouse.

If a party is interested in pursuing spousal support, he or she may decide to consult with a family law attorney. By so doing, the client may learn whether he or she qualifies for spousal support based on current law.

Source: Texas Constitution and Statutes, "SUBCHAPTER B. SPOUSAL MAINTENANCE", October 09, 2014

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Bruce Turner

In addition to his law degree, Bruce Turner has a master's degree in tax law and is Board Certified in Commercial Real Estate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

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