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Texas is unique from the standpoint that, you know, it wasn’t that long ago that they didn’t have alimony or spousal maintenance. Texas calls it spousal maintenance, okay. And there is a very distinct difference between spousal maintenance and alimony. Alimony, as it is treated under the Internal Revenue Code, is a tax break situation for the person who is paying it, and it is a taxable event for the person who is receiving it. Spousal maintenance is not that in Texas. It’s kind of akin to child support, and you pay it, but you don’t get any kind of tax write off for it, and the person who is receiving it doesn’t have to report it as income.
Now to be able to qualify for it, you know, you have to have been married for at least ten years, and then there is kind of a stair step on the amount you can receive and for what period of time, but the key term that is important for everybody to remember in this situation is, if you meet the statutory requirements, the amount to be paid and the time for it to be paid is only to meet the minimum reasonable needs of that person. Okay. So it is not like what you will find in California or other states, where it just kind of goes on until that person remarries, regardless of the situation.
Here it’s really think, the best way to think about it is, let’s say you’ve got someone who was a stay at home spouse, okay? And they need to go back and go to college or get some additional education to be able to reenter the workforce and be able to meet those minimum reasonable needs. That is what it is really about in the State of Texas. So it’s not one of these situations, where someone is going to come in and just hit a home run that where this is going to go on ad infinitum. It just isn’t going to happen here.
Dallas high-net-worth divorce attorney, Mark Scroggins, discusses how to get alimony in Texas.