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How does the court system in Texas grant alimony?

Alimony is money paid from one spouse to another in the case of a divorce. To be eligible for alimony, or spousal maintenance, a petition must be made to the court following the divorce. The judge presiding can order spousal maintenance for either spouse if the person petitioning has insufficient property to meet his or her basic human needs.

The court will more readily grant alimony if the spouse being asked to pay committed violence against the requesting spouse or a child that was involved. You need to know that the order for alimony needs to be in place before two years are up from the date of the divorce. You can also do it before that, but no later than two years.

For the spouse seeking alimony, if this person is not able to earn sufficient income to provide for his or her needs because of a mental or physical incapacity, the court is likely to grant the support. Also, if the two of you have been married for at least 10 years or if the requesting spouse is taking care of a child that requires a lot of time-consuming care and needs supervision because of a mental or physical incapability to function fully, the court will take this into consideration, too.

The court decides how much is paid, how long the payments are to last and even the manner in which it is paid. It could be by direct deposit, by check or a lump sum at one time. If all the requesting spouse needs is time to get an education and find a job, the judge will take this into consideration and will reward accordingly, probably for a limited amount of time.

Getting a divorce is wrenching and the issue of spousal support or alimony is a hot-button issue. Lining up all the facts is important.

Source: Texas Family Code, "Sec. 8.057. Modification of maintenance order," accessed Dec. 23, 2015

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