In the course of a divorce, a judge can decide whether the soon-to-be-former spouse will be required to pay spousal support and, if so, how much he or she will have to pay. With the changing dynamic of the working family, alimony payments aren't as prevalent as they were in the past, but they are still used frequently if one spouse gave up a career to raise children or in marriages in which one person earned a substantial amount more.
Unlike child support payments, alimony is to be reported as income by its recipients. Therefore, people who pay alimony are able to deduct the payments on their income tax forms. The deduction is only available if the payments are made according to a divorce or separation order, and voluntary payments do not qualify.
Many Texas spouses elect to receive or are offered alimony when they divorce. However, in many cases these same people must return to court and obtain an order forcing their former spouses to pay what the court has already stated as part of the divorce decree. In these situations, a monthly alimony payment may actually become a greater hindrance than a help. Texas law offers a solution by allowing lump-sum payments.
Although alimony, or maintenance as it is called in Texas, is difficult to obtain, it is allowable and ordered if the spouse requesting it meets certain statutory requirements. When family violence has not been involved, the marriage must have lasted at least 10 years in most cases.
Texas residents who are going through a divorce may know that spousal support may be granted on an individual basis. The parties to the divorce may reach decisions about spousal support, or if that is not possible, the court will decide. The court determination is based on specific factors. Spousal support is often intended to allow the alimony-receiving spouse to retrain or to take courses designed to advance his or her employability, giving the individual the opportunity to become self-sufficient.
Texas residents involved in a divorce proceeding are often surprised by how complicated the process is regarding spousal support, or alimony. The two types of alimony in Texas are spousal maintenance payments, which are ordered by the court, and contractual alimony. Laws regarding spousal maintenance were first enacted in 1995. In order to quality for maintenance, courts considered the ability to make payments, the needs of the spouse requesting payments, any disabilities affecting the spouse or children, the length of the marriage and if domestic violence was evident during the marriage.
When a married couple has been together for several years, facing the reality of a failing marriage and an inevitable divorce can cause grief. Feeling anxious about the emotional split-up can be taxing, but so can feeling apprehensive about what will happen to one's money at the end of a divorce proceeding. This is especially the case when two individuals are fighting over spousal support in Texas.