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When can a spouse in Texas seek alimony?

One issue that can come up in a divorce that can cause a lot of consternation is that of alimony, also known in Texas as "spousal maintenance" or "spousal support." After all, one spouse may be reluctant to pay any amount of money to an ex-spouse, while the other spouse may feel the need for financial support following a divorce, particularly if that spouse earned significantly less than the other, or stayed out of the workforce altogether to care for the family while married. In Texas, it is possible for a divorcing spouse to seek alimony, but only under certain circumstances.

A divorcing spouse in Texas can seek alimony if certain legal requirements are met. First of all, the spouse seeking alimony must not have sufficient property to meet minimum reasonable needs following the divorce. Also, one of two other requirements need to be met.

One requirement is if there has been an adjudication of family violence during the marriage within two years of filing for divorce or while divorce proceedings are pending. Alternatively, a spouse can seek alimony if due to a physical or mental disability the spouse is unable to earn an income to meet reasonable needs; or the parties' marriage lasted at least 10 years and the spouse is unable to meet minimum needs; or the spouse is the custodian of a child born to the married parties who needs substantial care due to a disability, leaving the caretaking spouse unable to earn a sufficient income to meet reasonable needs.

Whether seeking alimony or being ordered to pay it, it is a good idea to understand where Texas law stands on the issue. Getting the right information about family law issues can make a big difference.

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