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Can a Man Be Awarded Spousal Support?

The Torres Law Firm Dec. 21, 2023

There are many misconceptions about family law and divorce. One that we still get questions about is whether or not a man in a heterosexual relationship can be awarded spousal support.  

Spousal support, also known as alimony, refers to financial assistance awarded by a court to a spouse during or after a divorce. It's designed to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage. Contrary to popular belief, it's not exclusively awarded to women. In fact, gender doesn't play a role in determining who receives spousal support.  

How Is Spousal Support Determined in Texas? 

When deciding on spousal support, courts look at various factors. They consider the financial resources of the spouse seeking support, the time necessary for the spouse to acquire sufficient education to find appropriate employment, and the standard of living during the marriage. 

They also consider:  

  • The duration of the marriage;  

  • The age, physical condition, and emotional state of the spouse seeking support; and  

  • The ability of the spouse from whom support is sought to meet his or her own needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking support. 

As lawyers, we've seen firsthand how these factors can influence a spousal support case. We've worked with men who have been stay-at-home dads or who have earned less than their wives and were therefore awarded spousal support.  

What if My Wife Cheated? 

In Texas, for the most part, infidelity does not impact spousal support. Unlike some other states, Texas is a "no-fault" divorce state. This means that you don't have to prove marital misconduct like infidelity to file for divorce. The court won't typically consider infidelity when deciding issues like property division or spousal support. 

However, there are exceptions. If the infidelity had a significant financial impact on the marriage, then it could potentially influence the court's decision. For instance, if one spouse spent a significant amount of the couple's savings on an extramarital affair, the court might take this into account when dividing assets or determining spousal support. 

It's also worth noting that while infidelity may not directly influence spousal support, it can impact other aspects of the divorce process, like child custody decisions. 

Determining the Amount and Duration of Spousal Support 

Once a spouse qualifies for support, the court will determine the amount and duration. The court considers factors such as each spouse's financial resources, employment skills, the time necessary for the spouse seeking support to gain education or training, the duration of the marriage, age, employment history, earning ability, and the contribution of each party to the marriage. 

The court also considers any marital misconduct, like adultery or cruelty, and any history of family violence. In Texas, spousal support is usually limited to the lesser of $5,000 per month or 20% of the paying spouse's average monthly gross income. 

As for duration, spousal support in Texas generally lasts for the shortest reasonable period that allows the spouse seeking support to earn sufficient income, unless they're unable to because of a disability or the custodial responsibilities for a child of the marriage. In simpler terms, the duration of support will vary depending on the circumstances of each case. 

Qualifying for Spousal Support 

If you're seeking spousal support in a divorce, and it's a contested issue between you and your ex. You must prove they lack sufficient property to provide for their minimum reasonable needs. However, that's not the only condition. One of the following must also be true: 

  1. The other spouse has been convicted of family violence during the marriage. 

  1. The marriage lasted 10 years or longer, and the spouse seeking support cannot earn enough income to meet their minimum reasonable needs. 

  1. The spouse seeking support has a physical or mental disability that prevents them from earning sufficient income. 

  1. The spouse seeking support is the custodian of a child from the marriage who requires substantial care due to a physical or mental disability, preventing the spouse from earning sufficient income. 

How an Attorney Can Help 

Having a knowledgeable and experienced divorce attorney at your side can provide immense benefits and facilitate smoother navigation through the intricacies of alimony disputes and divorce issues. An attorney can help you understand your rights, the laws applicable to your case, and the potential outcomes. They can develop a strategic approach tailored to your unique situation and guide you through the process, making sure all necessary documentation is correctly completed and filed on time.  

When it comes to negotiating spousal support, an attorney can advocate for your best interests, striving to secure the most favorable financial agreement for you. Furthermore, if your case proceeds to court, a seasoned divorce lawyer can represent you effectively and convincingly, presenting your case in a way that underscores your needs and entitlements. Hence, hiring an attorney is an invaluable step in ensuring that the proceedings of your divorce or alimony disputes are managed professionally and efficiently and that your rights are robustly protected. 

Get Strong Support During a Divorce 

So, can a man be awarded spousal support? Absolutely. At The Torres Law Firm, we believe in fighting for fairness, regardless of gender. If you're facing a divorce and have concerns about spousal support, remember you're not alone. We're here to guide you through this challenging time and provide the legal support you need.  

Based in Corpus Christi, Texas, The Torres Law Firm proudly serves clients throughout the Dallas and Fort Worth areas. Contact us today if you're in the area and seeking advice about divorce or alimony.