If I’ve been married for 10 years and my husband is a medical resident, will the divorce settlement take future income into account?

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If I’ve been married for 10 years and my husband is a medical resident, will the divorce settlement take future income into account?

He is a medical resident and has never made much money but will make a lot in the future. We have 2 young children. I haven’t worked since the birth of our first child; my husband has always discouraged me from work. For how long would I get alimony?

Asked on October 23, 2015 under Family Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Texas is not an alimony state-- however, Texas does have a provision for marital support. (For all practical purposes, it's probably the same thing... but our politicians and judges have historically had issues with the term "alimony.")  Marital support is not automatic in Texas.  An applicant has to show they cannot support themselves and that they meet one of the basis for receiving marital support.  An applicant for martial support also has to show that they don't have any other remedies.  For example, if an applicant is awarded a larger share of the cmmunity estate, then a judge can deny a request for support on the basis that they now have a means to support themselves.  It is much harder to get marital support than child support because Texas jurisprudence actually frowns on the award of marital support.
With that in mind, the amount of marital support can vary in amount and duration.  It can range up to 20% of the paying spouse's salary.  A judge can order it to last for a few months or a few years.  The amount will be based on his salary at the time of the divorce.. not future income. (As opposed to child support which can be periodically adjusted to take into account for changes in his income.)
The decision by a judge to grant or deny is virtually at the discretion of the judge.  Even though the statute for awarding marital support seems black and white, every judge will interpret this statute a bit differently.  To get a better idea of what a judge will do in your jurisdiction, set up a consultation with an attorney that routinely handles family law cases in your county.  They can give you a more specific idea of the extent of how generous the judges are in your jurisdiction.


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