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Will I need to pay spousal support in my divorce?

Alimony payments, also called spousal support, are regular payments that one ex-spouse may be required to pay the other spouse after divorce. The factors that necessitate spousal support vary from state to state.

In Texas, there are very specific parameters for whether you may be obligated to pay spousal support, the amount you would pay and the length of time you may be obligated to continue payments.

Eligibility for court-ordered alimony

Temporary spousal support is the support that is paid before s divorce is finalized. However, in order for your ex-spouse to be eligible to receive regular court-ordered spousal support payments in Texas, he or she will need to satisfy at least two requirements.

The first requirement is that your ex-spouse demonstrates that he or she won't be able to afford the cost of minimum reasonable needs each month after the division of property is established.

The second requirement may include any of the following:

  • The marriage lasted ten years or more
  • The paying spouse was convicted for an act of family violence less than two years before the divorce or during divorce proceedings (also applies if paying spouse received deferred adjudication)
  • The spouse cannot earn sufficient income due to his or her physical or mental disability
  • The spouse is in need of support because he or she cares for the couple's child, who has a physical or mental disability

An ex-spouse may not request spousal support for one of these issues after the divorce settlement has already been made.

How much would I need to pay?

Spousal support payments may be up to $5,000 per month or up to 20 percent of the paying spouse's average monthly gross income.

How long can spousal support payments last?

Payments may continue for a lifetime if your spouse cares for a dependent child with a physical or mental disability.

Otherwise, for marriages that were abusive or lasted less than 20 years, spousal support payments may be required for up to five years.

Marriages lasting between 20 and 30 years may require payment for up to 7 years. And, even long marriages, lasing upwards of 30 years, may require payment for up to ten years.

If you have further questions on alimony in Texas or other divorce-related questions, contact a divorce attorney to learn more.

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