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What does 'minimum reasonable needs' for alimony mean?

Alimony, or spousal maintenance, in Texas went through a dramatic change in 2011, when a new law went into effect. The new law allows for a much more balanced and fairer approach.

One of the things a judge will consider after deciding a spouse is indeed eligible for spousal maintenance is each spouse's own "minimum reasonable needs." The Texas Family Courts do not define what minimum reasonable needs are, so it's up to the judge to determine this. How the marital property was divided and what separate property a spouse had coming into the marriage are used by the judge to help determine minimum reasonable needs. Some of the other factors a judge will consider in determining an alimony award:

-- The education, training and employable skills the requesting spouse has

-- The age, emotional and physical state, and job history of the requesting spouse

-- Whether a spouse was a homemaker

-- Any instances of family violence, cruelty or adultery

-- Any instances of hiding assets, fraud, destruction of property or excessive spending

These are just a few of the factors a judge will consider when deciding whether to award spousal support or alimony in Texas. Even if you feel you deserve alimony based on this information, it is not automatic or guaranteed.

An attorney can help present the court with evidence as to why you should receive alimony. Above all, an attorney will ensure your rights are protected as you move through this difficult time. It's always good to have an experienced attorney on your side as your quest for alimony proceeds through court.

Source: Lifetime Planning, "New Alimony Laws," accessed April. 28, 2015

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