Plano Spousal Support Attorney

Legal Advice Regarding IRS Changes That Impact Alimony

In Texas, alimony is called spousal maintenance. And speaking from experience, it can be hard to get a Texas family court judge to order it, even if you are a stay-at-home parent. That said, it IS possible to get spousal maintenance if your divorce attorney fights for it and you meet the qualifications.

If you think alimony should be part of the settlement agreement in your divorce, talk with one of the Plano spousal support attorneys at Albin Roach. We can explain Texas alimony law AND the new IRS alimony rule that takes effect January 2019. Things are about the change in a big way and it’s important that you know about it. Call 214-430-4440 to schedule a visit.

Spousal Maintenance in Texas

The first requirement for receiving spousal support is that the spouse seeking support must lack sufficient “property” (marital property, separate property and income) to provide for his or her “minimum reasonable needs.

But what is the minimum reasonable need? The law does not specify that so it’s up to the judge to decide. And that’s where an aggressive, effective lawyer can help to make the case by providing information regarding:

  • Assets and income of both spouses
  • The requesting spouse’s employment history, skills, education and job training
  • The requesting spouse’s age, physical health and emotional state
  • The requesting spouse’s history of service to the family as a homemaker

Even if the judge agrees that this information points to insufficient means, the law requires more than that before he or she can order spousal maintenance.

  1. The marriage must have lasted at least 10 years and there must be evidence that the requesting spouse is making an effort to get vocational training or to earn sufficient income, OR
  2. If the marriage lasted less than 10 years, the requesting spouse must have suffered family violence within the prior 2 years, OR
  3. The requesting spouse must be physically or mentally incapacitated, OR
  4. The requesting spouse must be the custodial parent of a disabled child (of any age) who requires supervision, thus preventing him or her from working.

If these criteria are met, you likely qualify for spousal support, but you should know that Texas law puts a cap on the amount of support you can receive. Support cannot exceed $5,000 a month, or 20% of the payor’s average monthly gross income.

How Long Can You Receive Spousal Support in Texas?

Under 10 years of marriage, with family violence5 years max
10-20 years of marriage5 years max
20-30 years of marriage7 years max
30+ years of marriage10 years max

The New IRS Alimony Ruling

Remember, what we are about to tell you does not take effect until January 2019 so if you are in the process of getting divorced in 2018, this will likely not apply to you. It will apply to anyone whose divorce decree gets approved by a judge in January 2019, and later.

We’ve seen massive changes to the tax code and one of these changes could have a big impact on Texas spousal support. Currently, the tax code allows the person paying support to deduct those payments from his/her taxes. The spouse receiving the support has paid taxes on it as income.

As of January 1, 2019, spousal support cannot be deducted from the payor’s taxes. There is no more alimony deduction. This will make it considerably more expensive for the alimony-paying partner because they are also paying taxes on that money.

For the ex-spouse receiving alimony, the pot just got sweetened. Like child support, the receiver of alimony will not have to declare it as income and will not need to pay taxes on it.

So how is this likely to play out? Receivers get to keep all of the income received, but payors will probably fight generous support payments because it will hit their bottom line twice – with alimony and with taxes.

Meet with a Spousal Support Lawyer Serving Frisco, McKinney, Plano and Allen, TX

Schedule a time to meet with one of our Frisco spousal maintenance lawyers who can explain your legal rights and options. Call Albin Roach at 214-430-4440 or contact us online.