Spousal support is a payment that one spouse makes to the other after a divorce to help provide financial assistance to the receiving spouse. The court often awards it when there is a discrepancy between spouses’ earnings and a real need for financial assistance. It may also award it in certain circumstances where it feels one spouse has a duty to care for the other spouse financially.
According to the Texas Constitution and Statutes, the main basis for awarding alimony is that one spouse will not have the means to provide for his or her own basic needs and that he or she meets a second condition. There are two main conditions that qualify a person to receive alimony, and they are quite specific, which limits who is eligible for a support award.
Inability to earn enough income
One condition is that the spouse cannot earn income on his or her own that will provide adequately for his or her needs due to a physical or mental disability or due to having to care for the couple’s disabled child. Alternatively, if the couple’s marriage lasted 10 years or more and a spouse cannot make a sufficient living to support him or herself, this also meets this condition.
The presence of domestic violence
A charge of domestic violence against the spouse who will pay the support is the other condition for courts to award financial support. This charge must occur either during the divorce or within the two years prior.
It is important to note that a situation only has to meet one condition to qualify for an award of spousal support. The court will also look at the financial means of both parties to ensure the need for support. Even if a case meets one condition, if the court finds no financial need, it will generally not create a spousal support order.