There are many misconceptions about alimony or spousal support. One is that anyone can get it when they divorce if their spouse makes more money than they do. This is untrue in Texas because the main purpose for support is to help a spouse after a divorce who cannot afford his or her basic needs. It is not a way for one spouse to drain the other spouse’s finances or punish him or her. Because it has a specific purpose, there are guidelines for who can and cannot receive it.
The Texas Constitution and Statutes explains the court will consider first the assets of each spouse when determining whether to award spousal support. This includes anything you get in the divorce. The court assumes that if you cannot afford your regular expenses based on your income only, then you will sell or use assets you get in the divorce to cover your expenses.
The court will also look at your reasonable needs. It does not consider those things beyond what you must have when determining if you have enough income and assets to provide for yourself. So, if you can afford housing, food, utilities and other basics, then it will not likely award you support.
In addition, your marriage must have lasted at least 10 years. If you have a child with a physical or mental disability that requires extensive care that prevents you from working, then you do not have to meet the 10-year requirement.
Keep in mind, the court focuses on what is fair and reasonable. You should not expect to receive spousal support just because your ex-spouse has a higher income than you. You must meet the legal requirements. This information is for education and is not legal advice.