DoI have to give my wife of 25 years alimony?

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DoI have to give my wife of 25 years alimony?

Married 25 years; moved out 3 years ago. I give her money and money to pay my son’s truck. I give her about $600 a month (have proof). She was going to file for child support before my son turned 18 but court asked $97 a week and she dropped the case. Our son is 18 will be 19. She makes about $200 less than I do. I broke my knee and receive workmens comp which pay is now less or equal. She demands money and if I file for divorce, do I still have to give her alimony if she requests it? My son also gives her money too. We own the house they live in and they can have it.

Asked on October 12, 2010 under Family Law, Texas

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

In Texas, alimony is also called spousal maintenance. The court can order in its discretion - it is not a guarantee. Each support order is decided on a case by case basis and not awarded straight across the board. And even then there are only 2 instances in which spousal maintenance can be ordered: (1) if a spouse was convicted for family violence within 2 years before the date the petition for divorce was filed, or (2) or the marriage was for 10 or longer in duration.

The spouse who is seeking spousal maintenance must show that employment is difficult to maintain or gainful employment is not possible because of a physical or mental disability; or, that he/she lacks sufficient resources and/or the earning ability to provide for his/her "minimal reasonable needs". Factors in making such a determination include, but are not limited to, the following: (1) all the financial resources of the spouse seeking support; (2) education and employment skills, time necessary for education or vocational training; (3) duration of the marriage; (4) age, employment history, earning ability, as well as the emotional and physical well being of the spouse; and (5) the efforts of the spouse seeking spousal maintenance to obtain suitable employment.

A request for spousal maintenance can be denied by the court if the spouse seeking support has not exercised due diligence in seeking employment and/or developing the necessary skills to become self-supporting. The spouse should actively pursue these requirements during the time the suit for divorce is pending.  Additionally, time limits of spousal maintenance are set out in the Family Code, unless the parties agree to a different time frame. The Family Code says that the support order is not effective after (3 years of when the divorce is finalized. The courts limit the spousal support to the shortest possible.  Finally, the amount of spousal support cannot exceed $2,500 per month or 20% of the ex-spouse's average monthly gross income. The amount set will be only enough to provide the spouse with the minimal reasonable needs. However, parties can agree to a larger sum.

This is just a brief overview.  At this point, you should consult directly a divorce attorney in your area.


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