Gone are the days when nearly all women earned less money than their husbands. In many families, wives are the higher earning spouse. Some people still assume that wives will never have to pay alimony to their husbands in a divorce. However, this is not true. Texas laws do not consider the sex of a spouse when determining whether the spouse needs to pay alimony or not. There are instances in which a woman may have to pay alimony to her ex-husband in a divorce.
Cases in Which a Woman May Have to Pay Alimony to Her Ex-Husband
A wife may have to pay alimony to her ex-husband if the wife is the main breadwinner for the family and the husband takes on the role of the homemaker. Perhaps the husband agreed to stay home and raise the children because the wife was offered a high-paying job. Other cases in which a wife may be required to pay alimony would involve a woman with a high-income career and a husband who owned a much lower income. When it comes to alimony payments, one size does not fit all in every divorce proceeding.
More and more Texas judges view alimony as a gender-neutral issue and will order wives to pay alimony when the facts support it without hesitation. This is not the way it used to be, which can be a hard pill for some to swallow. Nobody likes to pay alimony.
Texas judges will consider multiple factors when deciding whether to require a wife to pay alimony to her soon-to-be ex-husband, such as:
- The ages of each spouse
- The length of the marriage
- The disparity in incomes
- The health and needs of each spouse
- The lifestyle of each spouse during the marriage
- The reason for the divorce and whether there is any fault involved
- Whether one spouse needs help obtaining an education to get a job
- Whether one spouse needs help to get back into the job market
Can Marital Misconduct be Taken Into Account When Awarding Alimony?
Determining whether someone is eligible for alimony involves a judge looking at all of the factors included in the Texas divorce statute. It is difficult to receive alimony in Texas and the amount and duration of alimony will be restricted. In Texas, judges are allowed to consider marital misconduct when they decide how to set the amount and duration of alimony. For example, if the wife committed adultery and the court deems that alimony is necessary for the husband, they can consider the adultery when determining how much alimony she must pay.
Texas is One of the Hardest States to Get Alimony in Divorce
It is extremely difficult to get alimony in Texas. Compared to other states, Texas law severely restricts who is eligible for alimony or spousal maintenance after a divorce. However, it is always an option for the divorcing parties to negotiate a contract for the payment of alimony. They may even include terms that are more generous than a judge would be allowed to order under Texas law. The grounds for spousal maintenance in Texas divorce law are extremely narrow. Therefore, negotiation of alimony as a contractual obligation can be an important consideration when Texas spouses divorce.
Many spouses are looking toward uncontested divorces as a way to save money and time. In an uncontested divorce, the spouses agree on all of the major terms of the divorce, including alimony, child support, and the division of property and debt. When the spouses can agree on whether alimony should be paid and how much alimony should be paid, they can work with attorneys to draft a divorce settlement. They can present the settlement to a judge who can finalize the divorce, avoiding the need to have a drawn-out court proceeding.
Women Paying Alimony After a Court Proceeding
When the spouses are unable to come to an agreement regarding alimony, they will need to go before a court in a divorce proceeding. Texas judges do not have as much discretion as judges in other states when it comes to crafting alimony awards. The husband seeking spousal maintenance will need to show that he will not have enough property after the divorce to provide for his minimum reasonable needs. If the husband will have enough property to pay for his minimum reasonable needs after the divorce, the husband will not be eligible for alimony. If the husband cannot pay for his minimum reasonable needs without alimony, one of the following must also be true for the court to award alimony:
- The payor spouse committed a family violence crime within two years before the divorce suit was filed or while it is pending against the other spouse or that spouse’s child.
- The marriage lasted at least 10 years and the recipient “lacks the ability” to earn enough to provide for minimum reasonable needs.
- The recipient cannot earn enough because he or she will care for a child of the marriage, adult or minor, who needs “substantial care and personal supervision” because of physical or mental disability.
- The recipient cannot earn enough money because of an “incapacitating physical or mental disability.”
How Much Alimony Can the Court Order the Husband to Pay?
Texas also restricts the duration of the alimony order depending on the length of the marriage, the basis for eligibility, and how much time you have seven will need to earn enough money to make minimum reasonable needs. Texas judges must restrict alimony to $5,000 per month or one fifth of the paying spouse’s average monthly gross income, whichever is less.
Contact Divorce Concierge
Divorce proceedings will continue to evolve in Texas and throughout the country. If you are interested in working with a law firm that stays up to date with how divorce proceedings became, look no further than Divorce Concierge. We offer affordable flat rate plans for couples pursuing an uncontested divorce in Texas. Contact Divorce Concierge today to schedule your free initial consultation and learn more about our legal services.