Alimony in Texas: What You Need to Know

We work with your attorney provide the analysis needed provide weight and credibility to your case for or against the provision of spousal support.

The presumption by the court in Texas is against spousal support, otherwise known as alimony.  In order for the court to agree to grant spousal support, the spouse seeking support will need to have been married for 10 years,  claim family violence or show some kind of disability (mental or physical) or other reason that prevents earning for basic needs.  Other states generally have a less restrictive view toward spousal support.

How much support a Texas court will consider is based on a number of factors including age, employment history and skills, as well as property brought into the marriage.  A monthly support payment cannot be more than $5,000 or 20% of the paying spouse’s average gross monthly income, whichever is less.  We provide the analysis needed to justify your position as to the actual average gross monthly income – which can be viewed differently and vary over time.

If the marriage lasted 10 to 20 years or if there was family violence, court ordered support can last no longer than 5 years.  Support lasts no longer than 7 years for marriages between 20 and 30 years and no longer than 10 years for marriages lasting longer than 30 years. Support ends if one of the spouses dies, the receiving spouse remarries or lives in a permanent home with another person in a romantic relationship.  Many times the attorney will ask for insurance to cover the possibility of death or disability of the paying spouse.

Alimony is also a tool that can be used to increase the economic pie for the family, particularly in agreed or collaborative divorce.  Payments are taxed at the low wage earners rate. This is because the high earning spouse paying the alimony gets a tax deduction while the spouse receiving pays taxes. Alimony may also be paid as a lump sum or negotiated in exchange for other assets.

The decision to peruse options other than alimony should be considered in light of your tax situation and the degree to which you want to be further ‘tied’ financially to your future ex.  If you are the spouse receiving payment, it is important to remember that you are effectively ‘lending’ dollars without interest. Here’s an example: suppose you agree to receive $1,500 a month for 5 years (60 Payments).  If you add that up, you’ll receive 60 *$1,500 or $90,000. However what if you got $90,000 and invested it at 5% for 5 years?  If interest is compounded monthly at a 5% annual rate, you would have $12,000 more or $102,009.   If you are the paying spouse, your former spouse is now your lender. The tax deduction is valuable only if you earn enough to remain in a high marginal tax rate.  And you will be sending a check to him or her every month.  Both must be comfortable with this relationship.

From Forbes “Stay at Home Moms Should Not Expect Alimony” ” Completely abandoning your career also thrusts your own financial security into the hands of your husband — despite divorce rates that have been more or less stagnant around 50 percent for decades. In the past, these women when facing divorce could count on alimony in addition to child support, especially when her husband was a high-earner. That is no longer the case, and stay-at-home moms can be shocked to learn of their new reality”  Click Here