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What is traditionally known as “alimony” elsewhere is called “spousal maintenance” under the Texas Family Code. We know that going through a divorce chips away at your emotional and financial foundation. Bitter battles over alimony or financial support for one spouse can leave you feeling angry, resentful, and hopeless about your future. It doesn’t have to be that way – not if you have the right partner in your corner.

At Dodson Law Firm, PLLC, our Houston alimony and spousal maintenance attorneys bring more than just legal experience. We operate from a foundation of integrity, delivering compassionate guidance with an honest perspective. Our collaborative approach provides a refreshing alternative to the aggressive, burn-it-down tactics some firms take.

We know this is an extremely sensitive situation. That’s why we take the time to truly understand your circumstances before thoughtfully developing a strategy. Our team will walk you through the rules and formulas, ensuring your rights are protected every step of the way. And if the other side is unwilling to negotiate in good faith, you can count on us to advocate for a fair resolution.

Dodson gets it done through open communication, transparent processes, and a stubborn commitment to putting our clients’ well-being first. Ending your marriage is tough enough – let us remove the extra spousal maintenance burden from your shoulders. Reach out today for a consultation with a different kind of Houston spousal maintenance firm.

Texas Alimony 101: Spousal Maintenance & Support Explained

Also known as spousal support or maintenance, alimony is a court-ordered payment from one spouse to another following a divorce.

It helps the receiving spouse maintain a standard of living similar to what occurred during the marriage while ensuring both parties can meet their minimum reasonable needs.

Chapter 8 of the Texas Family Code governs alimony rules and application. These laws outline what the courts must consider when determining alimony eligibility and the amount and duration of support.

Circumstances Considered in Alimony Decisions

Texas courts look at many factors when determining alimony in a divorce case, the most common being:

  • Marriage Length — The duration of the marriage is a primary consideration. Generally, longer unions are more likely to result in alimony awards than shorter ones.
  • Spouse’s Income — Texas family courts also evaluate each spouse’s ability to provide for themselves. If one spouse has significantly higher income or assets than the other, it may award alimony to help the financially disadvantaged spouse meet his or her basic needs.
  • Special Need Concerns — The physical or mental disability of the spouse seeking support is another important factor. If the requesting spouse has a disability that limits their ability to work and earn income, the court may be more likely to award alimony.
  • Parenting Plan SupportChild custody arrangements can also play a role in alimony decisions, especially if a disabled child is involved. When the requesting spouse has primary custody of a disabled child and cannot work full-time, a judge may consider the hardship circumstances in the alimony determination.
  • Prior Violence or Abuse — The court will also scrutinize any history of family violence during the marriage. A history of domestic violence on the requesting spouse may support the alimony claim.

Other factors that family court judges consider include:

  • Age, employment history, earning ability, and spouse’s health-seeking maintenance.
  • The effect of child support payments on the paying spouse’s ability to provide spousal maintenance.
  • Acts of adultery or cruel treatment by either spouse.
  • The size and nature of each spouse’s separate and community property.
  • Contributions of a spouse as a homemaker.
  • Property each spouse brought into the marriage.
  • Contributions of one spouse to the other’s education, training, or increased earning power.

As you can see, many factors determine whether alimony is appropriate, including the amount and duration of the support. The Dodson Law Firm, PLLC, can walk you through alimony considerations and explain the different types of alimony available to you.

Types of Alimony in Texas

Before filing a divorce, you should learn about the State’s alimony classifications. Texas law recognizes three distinct categories of alimony, each designed to address specific circumstances and needs of the divorcing spouses.

Temporary

Paid during the divorce process to cover basic living expenses. This alimony helps the receiving spouse make ends meet while the divorce is pending.

Rehabilitative

Paid for a set period to allow the receiving spouse to become self-supporting. This maintenance may include support for education, training, or other efforts to increase the receiving spouse’s earning capacity.

Permanent

Paid indefinitely due to age, disability, or caregiving responsibilities. This alimony is less common and is typically reserved for cases where the receiving spouse has significant limitations preventing self-support.

Qualifying for Alimony in Texas

To be eligible for court-ordered spousal maintenance under Chapter 8, the requesting spouse must demonstrate that they lack sufficient assets to meet their minimum reasonable needs and cannot earn enough income due to:

  • Physical or mental disability
  • Duties as the custodian of a disabled child
  • Lack of earning ability for a suitable job

Additionally, the requesting spouse must show that they have made reasonable efforts to earn income or develop skills to become self-supporting during the separation and divorce process.

Alimony Calculation and Duration in Texas

The maximum alimony amount in Texas is $5,000 per month or 20% of the paying spouse’s average monthly gross income, whichever is less.

The duration of alimony depends on the length of the marriage:

  • Five years for marriages lasting 10-20 years
  • Seven years for marriages lasting 20-30 years
  • Ten years for marriages lasting 30+ years
  • Longer durations may be granted if a disability is present

It’s important to note that these are general guidelines, and the court may deviate from them based on the unique circumstances of each case.

Modifying or Terminating Alimony & Spousal Maintenance in Houston

You can modify or terminate an alimony order if either party experiences a material change in circumstances, such as:

  • Involuntary job loss or income reduction of the paying spouse.
  • Improved financial situation of the receiving spouse.
  • Remarriage or cohabitation of the receiving spouse.

The party seeking the change must file a motion with the court and provide evidence of the material change in circumstances. A knowledgeable alimony attorney is often necessary to protect your interests during these proceedings.

Why Dodson Law Firm, PLLC, Should Handle Your Houston Alimony Case

Our Texas family law firm offers each client:

  • Extensive knowledge of Texas alimony statutes and case law.
  • Years of exclusive family law practice in Houston.
  • Personalized approach to understanding your unique needs and goals.
  • Proven track record of successful alimony outcomes.
  • Commitment to honest, responsive communication throughout your case.

Our Senior Partner, Wendi Dodson, understands alimony laws completely and has a proven track record of success in spousal support cases. We take a compassionate, client-focused approach to every case, working closely with you to develop a customized strategy to achieve your goals.

When you work with the Dodson Law Firm, PLLC, you can expect:

  • A dedicated advocate who will fight tirelessly for your rights and interests.
  • Clear, consistent communication to keep you informed and empowered.
  • Skilled in negotiation and litigation to achieve the best possible outcome.
  • Compassionate guidance to help you navigate the emotional and financial challenges of divorce.

Schedule a Consultation with a Houston Alimony Attorney Today

Don’t go into your divorce alimony negotiations outmatched and uninformed. The knowledgeable Houston alimony lawyers at Dodson Law Firm have years of combined experience guiding clients through this complex process. We’ll take the time to thoroughly understand your financial situation in order to pursue a fair and reasonable alimony arrangement.

Attempting to navigate divorce alimony matters alone is unwise and stressful. Confidentially discuss your situation with our legal team today and experience a different kind of Houston alimony representation guided by integrity.