How can a wife get alimony
In addition to certain guarantees provided by law, LegalZoom guarantees your satisfaction with our services and support. Because our company was created by experienced attorneys, we strive to be the best legal document service on the web. If you are not satisfied with our services, please contact us immediately and we will correct the situation, provide a refund or offer credit that can be used for future LegalZoom orders. Spousal support, as it is now commonly called, used to be known as "alimony. If a spouse will face hardships without financial support, spousal support should be considered. The deciding factor for spousal support is the need to maintain the spouse at his or her customary standard of living.SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: We’re Divorced! Now Support Me?
SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: MORE WOMEN ARE PAYING ALIMONY & CHILD SUPPORT: Divorce Lawyer Christopher C. Melcher Explains on ABCContent:
- Spousal Support (Alimony) in a Nutshell
- Who Qualifies for Spousal Support?
- How a Judge Decides The Alimony Amount
- How do judges decide about alimony?
- How Do I Get Alimony or Spousal Support in Texas?
- What is Alimony? Your Guide to Alimony
- Spousal Support (Alimony) in a Divorce
- What You Need to Know About Alimony in North Carolina
Spousal Support (Alimony) in a Nutshell
Jump to navigation. Spousal support or alimony can be an important source of funds for a parent to pay a mortgage to keep children in the marital home after divorce and to create a qualified stream of income to qualify for a car or home loan. Whether a former spouse receives spousal maintenance or contractual alimony in Texas is more than a legal and economic question. It is one of the trickiest emotional issues of divorce.
A spouse often requests spousal support when he or she does not make as much money as the other, lacks a college degree, has been out of the work force raising the children or is facing a challenging job market.
For the spouse contemplating paying spousal maintenance or alimony, it can be equally challenging to think about supporting the ex-spouse over and above child support and the divorce settlement if the soon to be former spouse contributed substantially fewer or no earnings during the marriage. Spouses frequently blame themselves or each other for "creating" or "allowing" the circumstances that now necessitate spousal supoort. Spouses need to remember the actions they took in the past were decisions they made together in their family's best interests based on the information each of them had at the time.
There was no crystal ball that could have foretold divorce, and if there had been, they probably would have made different choices. Ease up on each other. Move forward to understand what options and benefits there are under Federal tax laws and Texas law for spousal support. There are significant differences between them: how you get them; how much they pay out; how long they last; and how they are changed or enforced. The first major difference is court ordered spousal maintenance is the kind a family judge can order a spouse to pay involuntarily in litigation.
In contrast, contractual alimony is spousal support the spouses agree to themselves the court still has to approve the agreement as part of the divorce. Many times spouses in mediation want to understand what the law provides for court ordered spousal maintenance to guide their own decisions about what to agree to for contractual alimony.
But just because the law provides for it does not mean it is easy to get, that it will be a large amount of money, or it will last forever. To the contrary, the eligibility requirements for court ordered spousal maintenance are high, the amount and duration are restricted, and it can be changed or eliminated later. There is no "palimony" in Texas, meaning a court cannot require someone to pay spousal support if there was no ceremonial or common law marriage.
Why is court ordered spousal maintenance limited in Texas? Texas law provides for court ordered spousal maintenance only in limited circumstances. In community property states like Texas, the financial division on divorce is usually as close to fifty-fifty asset by asset whenever possible, or if an asset cannot be divided, then it is offset by a different asset of equivalent value that is given to the other spouse.
Generally, wages, bonuses, and income are divisible community property in Texas whether there is one breadwinner in the family or two. That means the court does not give all the money only to the spouse who earned it, and a homemaker is not penalized in the community property division for not working outside the home. The theory is court ordered spousal maintenance can be a financial bridge between divorce and self-sufficiency. This is why it is often referred to as "rehabiliative" support.
However, there is a prevailing view as well that spousal support creates a disincentive for a divorcee to return to gainful employment. That is one of the reasons the Texas legislature makes it tough for a former spouse in Texas to get court ordered spousal maintenance. However, Texas also recognizes that people need some help after divorce if they have been out of the work force, lack education, became disabled during marriage, must care for a disabled child and cannot work, or have experienced family violence.
If the parties are trying to reach an agreement for contractual alimony, why do the procedures for court ordered spousal maintenance matter? First, it is important to understand what the law provides in order to determine whether or not a spouse would be eligible for court ordered spousal maintenance if there is no agreement in mediation for voluntary payment of contractual alimony.
In other words, Texas does not impose rules for eligibility, amount, duration, and enforcement of contractual alimony like it does for court ordered spousal maintenance. However, looking at the rules for court ordered spousal maintenance may help you to decide what provisions you may want to write into any agreement you make together for contractual alimony.
Eligibility for Court Ordered Spousal Maintenance. In September Texas substantially changed the eligibility rules for court ordered spousal maintenance.
After proving that, the spouse must also prove at least one of the following:. A former spouse cannot request court ordered maintenance if that former spouse cannot meet his or her minimum reasonable needs because after divorce he or she lost a job or became incapacitated with a physical or mental disability.
Don't get suckered into plotting to quit a job or intentionally refusing to better yourself during divorce. The consequences can be devastating. Family judges know every trick, ruse, and excuse lawyers and parties use to try to get spousal maintenance or to avoid paying it. Spouses who misrepresent their own need and eligibility for court ordered spousal maintenance or their ability to pay what is requested will quickly and irreparably lose credibility with the judge and each other.
Amount of Court Ordered Spousal Maintenance. If the judge finds a spouse is eligible for court ordered spousal maintenance, the judge has to decide how much to order and for how long. Determining the amount is not a simple math equation. By law, the judge must also consider:. The cap on court ordered spousal maintenance in Texas is set by statute. Generally, court ordered maintenance must be limited to the shortest reasonable time that allows the receiving spouse to earn enough money to meet monthly expenses unless the spouse has a mental or physical disability, is caring for an infant or young child, or there is some other compelling reason the spouse cannot provide for his or her minimum reasonable needs.
If any of these is the basis for extended or indefinite spousal maintenance, the paying spouse or the court may ask for a review every so often to see if the other spouse still qualifies. Caps on Duration. There are restrictions in the law for how long a judge can require a spouse to pay court ordered maintenance in Texas. Enforcement of Court Ordered Spousal Maintenance. It is very important to understand that even if a spouse is successful in persuading a judge to award court ordered maintenance, and even though the court can enforce that order by contempt fine or jail time , it still is not a sure bet.
A spouse who claims these affirmative defenses must properly include them in the court pleadings and prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she:. How does court ordered spousal maintenance end? Court ordered spousal maintenance ends by law if:. What if a spouse does not have enough money to pay court ordered spousal maintenance?
Before a judge grants a request for spousal maintenance, the judge must take into account whether a spouse who is ordered to pay court ordered spousal maintenance actually has the financial ability to do so.
Judges generally choose to order payments or award a disproportionate share of the marital estate, but not both. Please take all of these factors into consideration if you are thinking about pursuing court ordered spousal maintenance. As in everything, you must weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks as you navigate through a divorce. It is voluntary and paid according to an agreement between the spouses as to how much it will be, how long it will last, and what factors may cause it to change such as death of either spouse, cohabitation or remarriage of the receiving spouse, or disability or involuntary unemployment of the paying spouse.
There can also be some protections for the receiving spouse such as life insurance and provisions in the event of a late payment.
Spouses can negotiate what provisions to include and exclude. There are no legal eligibility requirements for contractual alimony. If there are financial resources to do so, most commonly divorcing spouses use contractual alimony to establish a required monthly stream of income usually in addition to child support for a self-employed, unemployed, or underemployed spouse at the time of divorce to qualify to rent an apartment or for a mortgage loan to buy a house or to refinance the current home into his or her own name.
A spouse may also pay contractual alimony to the other spouse to allow that spouse to pay the mortgage, taxes, and insurance to keep the spouse in the marital home with children for a period of time.
How does contractual alimony end? Like court ordered spousal maintenance, contractual alimony ends if either spouse dies. However, unlike court ordered spousal maintenance, contractual alimony does not end if the spouse receiving the alimony remarries or cohabitates with someone in a dating or romantic relationship. If a spouse who has agreed to pay contractual alimony fails to do so, the judge will treat the alimony agreement as a contract and apply any applicable rules of contract law to enforce the terms.
Unlike for court ordered spousal maintenance, the family court may not enforce contractual alimony by contempt fine or jail time against a nonpaying spouse. The court treats contractual alimony as a debt the paying spouse owes the receiving spouse and Federal and state enforcement rules for collecting debt would apply. In addition, the court can only enforce an agreement for contractual alimony up to the length of time and amount the court could have awarded if it had ordered involuntary spousal maintenance.
Spouses seeking contractual alimony in Texas can avoid making a costly strategic error by getting complete information about the family finances before deciding how much alimony to request from the other spouse. A spouse should make sure he or she knows how much money there is to go around before jumping the gun out of fear and demanding an unreasonably high amount.
There are consequences to making a demand for alimony that is above the paying spouse's available resources or that is outside the legal parameters for court ordered spousal maintenance see the table above. Such demands almost always cause the other spouse not only to get mad, but often to seriously question the ability of the requesting spouse to make sound financial choices in the future. When that happens, the spouse who was feeling scared about supporting him or herself after divorce will have an even harder time feeling comfortable negotiating division of assets.
Impulsive, premature, uninformed actions and demands can jeopardize your credibility. Outright refusal to consider alimony can have the same result. For these reasons it is important to begin the actual negotiations of the property division, child support, and alimony only after the mediator has made sure everyone has complete information, understands the law, and has explored all options.
There are some other payments besides monthly spousal support that may qualify as alimony such as payments made post-divorce for a former spouse's medical expenses, housing costs rent, utilities, mortgage, taxes, insurance, etc.
Don't forget to consider how spousal support can affect child support in Texas. Spouses seeking spousal maintenance or contractual alimony in Texas must consider the complete financial picture, and take account the tax implications and the emotions alimony brings up for everyone involved.
Detente mediators help spouses have a calm, informed discussion about alimony and reach a reasonable agreement in all of their best interests. Note: Read about important tax law changes to alimony affecting divorce finances. Always consult a tax specialist who has specific knowledge about spousal support and divorce tax rules who can apply them to your particular situation. Every alimony situation is different. This material is a general overview of Texas court ordered spousal maintenance and contractual alimony and is not a substitute for advice from a licensed tax professional.
You are welcome to add to your mediation team a neutral tax expert in the Detente resource network who can help each of you understand the rules and how you may be able to benefit from them. Search form Search. After proving that, the spouse must also prove at least one of the following: the marriage has been for ten years or longer and the spouse made diligent efforts to either earn sufficient income or to develop necessary skills while the divorce is pending to meet his or her minimum reasonable needs; or the other spouse has committed family violence; or the requesting spouse has an incapacitating disability that arose during marriage; or a child of the marriage of any age has a physical or mental disability that prevents the spouse who cares for and supervises the child from earning sufficient income.
A spouse who claims these affirmative defenses must properly include them in the court pleadings and prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she: lacked the ability to provide maintenance in the amount the court ordered; lacked property that could be sold, mortgaged, or otherwise pledged to raise the funds needed; attempted unsuccessfully to borrow the needed funds; and did not know of a source from which the money could have been borrowed or otherwise legally obtained.
Court ordered spousal maintenance ends by law if: either the payer or the receiver dies; the receiver remarries; or the court orders it ends including when the judge finds the receiving spouse is living on a continuing basis in a permanent place of abode with another person in a dating or romantic relationship. Free Consultations! Call today!
Who Qualifies for Spousal Support?
Spousal support is generally issued in connection with cases involving divorce or legal separation. Also known as alimony , spousal support is where one spouse pays the other ex-spouse a certain sum of money, usually on a monthly basis. Courts may require this in instances where one party is much more financially stable than the other, and the other party needs assistance in beginning life after the divorce or separation. Spousal support is issued on a case-by-case basis, and each case will be different in terms of the spousal support analysis. Also, the court will take into account several factors when making the support determination, including:.
Jump to navigation. The judge can also deviate from the amount of time for the kind of alimony if you have special circumstances. Usually judges order more alimony for longer marriages; the longer the marriage, the more alimony a judge will order. A judge can decide how much a spouse should be earning.
How a Judge Decides The Alimony Amount
Alimony is alive and well in North Carolina. Four of these five issues make intuitive sense. The ordinary man or woman understands why a divorce court must verify that proper grounds for divorce exist; determine which property shall go to which spouse; determine custody of the children; and allocate funds for their support. Indeed, these are tasks which unmarried couples often perform themselves, without immediate court assistance, upon breakup of a relationship. Some time ago, this was not true. The ordinary person did understand what it was and why it was required. Perhaps this understanding of alimony support still exists in cases where divorce occurs after a traditional long-term marriage in which the wife did not work. But many marriages today are not long-term, and very few women are entirely removed from the work force. By and large, the marriages of our grandfathers and grandmothers do not exist today.
How do judges decide about alimony?
Donate 'streedhan': In , Gandhi persuaded women in Bengaluru to make a difference. Streedhan can be claimed even after separation. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service. Personal Finance News.
The obligation arises from the divorce law or family law of each country. The Code of Hammurabi BC declares that a man must provide sustenance to a woman who has borne him children, so that she can raise them:. Alimony is also discussed in the Code of Justinian. The modern concept of alimony is derived from English ecclesiastical courts that awarded alimony in cases of separation and divorce.
How Do I Get Alimony or Spousal Support in Texas?
Donahue, Jr, Esq. The key to alimony is understanding the term "the standard of living of the marriage. The basic idea behind alimony is that when your marriage ends, you both should be able to go on living as you were before the divorce.SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: How is Spousal Support Calculated?
To provide "reasonable and necessary" support. The person asking for alimony must show the court that he or she needs financial support, and that the other spouse has the ability to provide financial support. You must request alimony during your divorce proceeding. You will not be allowed to request it after the divorce case is over. When one of the parties in a divorce or separation wants alimony but the other party does not agree, the judge will decide if an alimony award should be made and if so, for how much.
What is Alimony? Your Guide to Alimony
What you need to know right now about spousal support -- in the United States and Canada. By closely examining the assets of each spouse, the judge can determine if spousal support should be paid — and by whom. In some cases, the assets may generate sufficient income that either no spousal support is necessary or it can be reduced. Each state has guidelines to calculate spousal support. However, they are generally just that — guidelines.
By Roderic Duncan , Judge. In comparison to child custody cases—in which judges must decide which parent a child is going to live with—deciding on an alimony amount is a piece of cake. Every state has a law dictating what factors must be considered in setting alimony.
Spousal Support (Alimony) in a Divorce
The answer is yes, it is possible. You must call an experienced divorce and alimony lawyer to determine your rights and the specifics of your situation. Each situation is different.
What You Need to Know About Alimony in North Carolina
Unlike with child support, there is no formula that will tell you whether or not you will get spousal support or how much you will get. Spousal support is decided on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes spousal support is needed to make sure both parties are taken care of after a divorce.