I found my husband cheating on me. Is the outcome of divorce different if he files a divorce before I file a divorce? For how long is the alimony if I get? And Is it given for sure? If a 14 year old child say which parent he wants to stay with, does it usually happen as he says?

Asked on November 3, 2017 under Family Law, Texas


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

In Texas, it doesn't generally matter who files first.  The only time when filing first really matters is if a child is in danger, then a court will expect the non-offending parent to seek appropriate legal protections for the child.
With regard to alimony....Texas is not an alimony state.  Alimony can only be obtained by agreement because Texas has such a bias against the concept of alimony.  
Texas does have "marital support."  This is similar to the concept of alimony, but it's only granted in limited cases.  It's purpose is to help an abused, disabled, or financially crippled spouse get back on their feet.  A judge can only award enough support to meet a spouse's basic minimum needs.  It is not designed to make a spouse comfortable or "well off."  Before the court can award spousal maintenance, the courts are generally required to look at property division first.  If the court can give the spouse more assets to better the situation, then they will not award spounsal maintenance.  If they do award spousal maintenence, then the trial court must limit the payments to the purpose and duration needed to get the spouse back to a good place.
With regard to your child, children can express a preference at age 12 regarding who they want to live with....but this is not controlling.  However, most judges will try to accomodate a child's choice as long as it is physically or emotionally healthy for the child.

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