Spousal support, which some people call alimony or maintenance, can be the most contentious part of many divorce proceedings. Spouses who need support may fight earnestly to receive that financial assistance, while spouses in a position to pay support may try everything they can think of to avoid the obligation.
While Texas does award spousal support or maintenance it only does so in a limited number of circumstances. You have to qualify for spousal support under one of the three legal reasons below or by mutual agreement with your spouse.
Your marriage lasted at least 10 years and you can’t support yourself
Spousal support isn’t common in short marriages, but if you stay married for at least a decade, you may have a claim based on that your dependent status. The fewer assets you have and the lower your total earning potential, the stronger your possible claim to spousal support as of formerly dependent spouse going through a divorce.
You entered the country as a sponsored immigrant
When people use marriage or engagement as a means to enter the country, there can be limitations on their employment opportunities. If you divorce before you qualify for naturalization and your spouse has the resources, they may need to pay you spousal support until you have a strong work history or complete the naturalization process.
Your spouse is guilty of domestic violence
If your spouse has committed an act of violence against you or one of your children in the last two years, that can help you qualify for spousal support. The paying spouse must have been convicted or have an agreement for deferred adjudication.
If you and your spouse have a provision regarding spousal support in a prenuptial agreement, you can request it in those negotiations even if you would not necessarily meet the criteria to have the courts award you support in a litigated divorce.
Understanding when you can ask the spousal support can make it easier for you to set achievable goals in your upcoming Texas divorce.