Texas is a community property state, and almost all property that is acquired by either spouse during their marriage is divided equally once they divorce unless the parties otherwise agree. If the court determines that one spouse is to pay the other alimony, these payments may affect the property division ordered by the court. The court will look at a number of factors to determine whether and how much spousal support to order.
In addition to looking at the spouses' community assets, the court will also look at how much premarital property each spouse owns, in addition to the financial resources available to each party. The court will also want to know what the earning capacity is for each person, which the court may assess by looking at each person's level of education, employment history and job skills. If one spouse was going to school while the parties were married, a judge will want to know if the other spouse contributed to that person's education costs or otherwise helped enhance that spouse's earning capacity.
If one spouse has less income as a result of being a homemaker, the court will look at what his or her contribution was to the marriage. Each person's age and health condition are also factors that are taken into consideration, as is the effort that the requesting spouse is making to look for a job and to try to obtain employment counseling. Lastly, the court will try to determine whether the spouse is able to meet his or her own personal needs without maintenance.
Family law attorneys in Texas may help divorcing individuals try to negotiate or petition for spousal support. If a person fears that he or she cannot afford to pay a significant amount of spousal support, an attorney may try to show the court what impact the payments would have on the client.
Source: Divorce Support, "Texas Spousal Support/Maintenance/Alimony Factors", September 12, 2014