Spousal Support and Alimony in Texas
Alimony, spousal support, and dividing assets in a divorce is a delicate and difficult process. Hiring a reputable, experienced lawyer is critical—especially in high-asset situations. The negotiation process is often confusing and emotionally charged. The good news is that the team at Andrew J. Bolton, ESQ has the experience and expertise to guide you through. Texas does allow alimony. Do you want it? Do you want to avoid paying it? Seek legal counsel promptly.
How Does Alimony Work?
There are two main types of alimony in Texas; contractual alimony is voluntarily paid based on an agreement between the former partners. Spousal maintenance is court-ordered and may be awarded only in specific, limited circumstances per Texas law. In basic terms, alimony consists of one spouse providing financial support to the other spouse following divorce. For court-ordered spousal maintenance, an individual must first prove that, after the final division of assets and liabilities, there is not enough money to meet his or her necessary monthly expenses.
Who Should Pay? How Much Should I Receive?
For contractual alimony, there are no legal requirements. This type of alimony, including the amount and duration, is often negotiated between spouses. In the Houston area, it is wise to seek the assistance of an experienced attorney can help guide you through the contractual alimony negotiation process.
Individuals requesting court-ordered spousal support must prove at least one of the following:
- The marriage lasted 10 years or longer and the individual made every effort to develop skills and earn sufficient income.
- The opposing party has committed family violence.
- A child of the marriage has a physical or mental disability that prevents the primary parent from earning a sufficient income.
- The spouse requesting alimony has a disability that arose during the marriage that prevents him or her from earning a sufficient income.
When making an alimony decision, the court may also consider child support to be paid (or received), family violence, marital misconduct, fraud, employment history, and one partner’s contribution to the other’s education.
Should a judge find the requesting spouse eligible for court-ordered maintenance in the state of Texas, the amount awarded typically falls between the spouse’s income and monthly expenses? The maximum amount of involuntary alimony awarded in Texas is $5,000 per month or 20% of the paying spouse’s average monthly income.
Hidden Assets And Why They Matter
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for one or both parties to hide assets during a divorce. If assets are not accurately disclosed, the court cannot make an appropriate ruling. In order to ensure assets are revealed and divided fairly, Andrew J. Bolton may decide to take several important steps:
- Requesting certain facts and documents from the opposing party to disclose hidden assets
- Questioning the opposing party under oath in a deposition
- Requesting required documents of third parties (banks, friends, relatives, etc.)
- Retaining a “forensic accountant” to look at the financial records to see if anything seems amiss
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