Can my wife get alimony after 8 years?

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Can my wife get alimony after 8 years?

My wife filed for divorce and moved out almost a year ago after I had an affair. She says that she passed out at work and had to go to the hospital, lost alot of weight, etc. as a result of my affair. She also had to see a counselor. She thinks that I should cover those bills. She has a 4 year teaching degree but has yet to find a job and is struggling as a waitress. I’ve helped her by taking out loans and making car payments yet she wants additional money in the divorce because she’s struggling and feels I’m responsible. Her lawyer will paint me as a monster. She says it’s fair. No kids. What is likely to happen?

Asked on March 27, 2011 under Family Law, Texas

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First of all, alimony (i.e. spousal maintenance) may or may not be granted by a court.  In TX, unlike some other states, marital misconduct can be a factor an alimony award (and possibly in the final distribution of marital assets even though TX is a community property state).  Each case is fact dependent.  However, they are other factors that will be considered as well.  The spouse who is seeking spousal maintenance must show that employment is difficult to maintain or gainful employment is not possible because of a physical or mental disability; or, that he/she lacks sufficient resources and/or the earning ability to provide for his/her "minimal reasonable needs".  Factors in making such a determination include, but are not limited to, the following: (1) all the financial resources of the spouse seeking support; (2) education and employment skills, time necessary for education or vocational training; (3) duration of the marriage; (4) age, employment history, earning ability, as well as the emotional and physical well being of the spouse; and (5) the efforts of the spouse seeking spousal maintenance to obtain suitable employment.

Bottom line if, and how much, spousal maintenance a court may grant is discretionary and dependent on many factors.  At this point, you should consult directly with a divorce attorney in your area.


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