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Frequently Asked Questions about Alimony in Texas

Frequently Asked Questions about Alimony in Texas

Though alimony or spousal maintenance is not as common in Texas as it was a generation ago, the court still has the discretion to order payment of spousal support, based on a variety of factors. Our Baytown family law attorney answers some of the most common questions divorce parties have regarding the payment of alimony in Texas.

What Are the Different Types of Alimony?

In Texas, alimony can take three different forms: temporary, contractual or spousal maintenance. A grant of temporary alimony is in force only while the divorce proceeding is still pending. It ensures that the recipient has some means of support until a final divorce decree is entered. A “contractual” grant of alimony allows the parties to put spousal support payment in the final divorce order. The parties have the flexibility to negotiate the amount, as well as the duration of payments. If the parties cannot agree to a contractual grant of alimony, the court will order “spousal maintenance,” a grant of periodic payments after a divorce is final.

What Are the Factors the Court Considers When Granting Alimony?

The court has absolute discretion to grant alimony, based on the following factors:

  • the financial resources of the spouse seeking maintenance, including the community and separate property and liabilities apportioned to that spouse in the dissolution proceeding, and that spouse’s ability to meet the spouse’s needs independently
  • the education and job skills of the spouses
  • the length of the marriage
  • the age, employment history, earning ability, and health condition of the spouse seeking maintenance
  • the ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is requested to meet that spouse’s personal needs
  • the dissipation of any marital assets
  • the financial resources of the spouses
  • the contribution by one spouse to the education or earning capacity of the other
  • any pre-marital property
  • the contribution of a spouse as homemaker
  • any marital misconduct of the spouse seeking maintenance
  • the efforts of the spouse seeking maintenance to pursue available employment counseling as provided by Chapter 304, Labor Code

Alimony in Texas

How Do You Enforce Payment of Alimony?

It depends on the type of alimony. If it’s spousal maintenance, and there’s a court order, failure to pay is considered contempt of court. If, on the other hand, it’s contractual alimony, the failure to pay is breach of contract and must be enforced through a breach of contract action in court.

Contact Us

At the office of Linda Stewart Law, PLLC, in Baytown, we bring more than 8 years of experience to clients in south Texas. To learn how we can help, call our family law attorney at 281-761-6042 or contact us online. We offer an initial consultation at a reduced fee of $50. We accept credit cards and will set up a payment plan, if appropriate. Our offices are open Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., and until noon on Fridays. Evening and weekend appointments can be arranged upon request.

Se Habla Espanol | ASL and ESL Services Also Available

Tax Tips for Divorcing Couples

In the midst of a divorce, one of the last things you may think about are the potential tax ramifications of ending your marriage, but financial counselors say it’s something you need to address.

Child Support and Alimony Payments

It’s important to understand the tax consequences of both child support and alimony payments. Child support payments are taxable by the recipient. Furthermore, they cannot be claimed as a deduction by anyone paying child support.

Alimony payments are treated differently under state and federal tax laws. As a general rule, alimony is considered income and must be reported as such, provided the payments are made pursuant to a valid divorce or separation agreement, and the payments are made in cash (not in kind). Likewise, if the same conditions are met, alimony payments may be deducted by the payer.

Filing Status

If you are in the middle of a divorce at the end of the tax year, you can choose to file a joint return, or file as “married filing separately.” If your divorce becomes final before the end of the tax year, you must file as either single or as “head of household.”

To claim your children as exemptions on your return, you must be considered the custodial parent. Generally, the parent with whom the child spent the most amount of time will be considered the custodial parent for tax purposes. You can, however, claim your child if the custodial parent waives the exemption in writing.

Contact Us

At the office of Linda Stewart Law, PLLC, in Baytown, we bring more than 8 years of experience to clients in south Texas. To learn how we can help, call our office at 281-420-8020 or contact us online. We offer an initial consultation at a reduced fee of $50. We accept credit cards and will set up a payment plan, if appropriate. Our offices are open Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., and until noon on Fridays. Evening and weekend appointments can be arranged upon request.

Se Habla Espanol | ASL and ESL Services Also Available

 
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