With societal changes, today’s woman is significantly less likely to be awarded alimony in a divorce.
Changing times and societal attitudes inevitably lead to changes in law and how it is applied. In family law, alimony is no exception. Although for years, alimony was routinely granted to one party in the divorce (predominantly the woman), a recent article published in Forbes highlighted the fact that this is changing across the country. According to the article, it can no longer be assumed that alimony will be awarded in the divorce.
In the past, women routinely suffered a financial disadvantage when they got married, as many had to give up careers to care for the children. However, according to the article, those days are over, due to the high number of women earning college and professional degrees. Indeed, at many colleges and universities of today, women outnumber the men. Nowadays, 75 percent of women work, according to the Labor Department. Additionally, in 40 percent of households, the woman is the primary breadwinner.
Alimony in Texas
Because of the increased opportunities for women to earn a paycheck and support themselves, judges in Texas and across the nation are increasingly denying requests for alimony or "maintenance" (which is the legal term for alimony). This is reflected in Texas' statutes concerning maintenance. Under the law in Texas, it is presumed that maintenance is not needed unless the party requesting it has shown diligence in earning a sufficient income to provide for his or her minimum needs or developing the necessary skills to provide for his or her basic needs.
Texas law permits courts to award maintenance in a few situations. Such situations include instances where:
• One spouse is unable to earn a sufficient income because of incapacitating physical or mental disabilities.
• The marriage has lasted for 10 years or more and a spouse is unable to earn a sufficient income to provide for his or her basic needs.
• There is a child that requires substantial care or supervision because of an incapacitating physical or mental disability.
If the court finds that a spouse is eligible for maintenance, it will consider many factors to determine the amount of the award, such as the education and employment skills of each spouse, the salary history of each spouse, the age and health of each spouse, and the length of the marriage. In many cases, even if maintenance is awarded, the judge will set a date where the maintenance payments will end. This is to give the spouse receiving alimony enough time to get the necessary training for a career that would provide a means of support.
Speak to an attorney
If you feel that you are eligible for alimony, you may face an uphill battle, so it is important to have the assistance of an experienced family law attorney at your side along the way. The attorneys at Bailey and Galyen can review your case, give you a clear picture of your chances of success, and work to secure the most favorable settlement possible in both amount and duration.