FAQ: What types of income are included in alimony payments in a Texas divorce?
Calculating spousal maintenance can get tricky in Texas divorce cases. This article answers some common questions about this issue and provides an overview of what types of income are included in alimony calculations.
Texas family courts cannot require you to pay more than $5,000, or 20 percent of your gross income, in spousal maintenance each month. Tex. Fam. Code § 8.055
Gross income means 100 percent of your monthly wages or salary before taxes and deductions are taken out of your paycheck. Gross income includes commissions, overtime pay, tips, and bonuses, as well as:
- self-employment income
- severance pay
- retirement benefits
- trust income
- capital gains
- gifts and prizes Tex. Fam. Code § 8.055
Yes, bonuses can still factor into your spousal maintenance calculation – even if you don’t receive one annually.
In one Orange County ,Texas case, the husband appealed the court’s spousal maintenance award on the grounds that it should not have included his annual bonus in the calculation. He claimed that his bonus was dependent on his employer’s profits in any given year, and that there was “no guarantee he will continue to receive a bonus or that it will be in the amounts that he has received in the past.” Benoit v. Benoit, No. 01-15-00023-CV (Tex. App. Dec. 22, 2015)
The court found that the husband had received a bonus for the last three years before the divorce. Therefore, it was reasonable to conclude he would likely continue to receive a bonus in the future.
If you are receiving unemployment benefits, these are considered income for the purposes of calculating spousal maintenance in Texas.
For maintenance purposes, your net rental income is defined as the rent money you have left over after deducting operating expenses and mortgage payments. This does not include non-cash items such as depreciation.
Any benefits you receive from federal public assistance programs are not included in spousal maintenance calculations.
- benefits from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program
- service-connected disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs
- supplemental security income (SSI)
- Social Security benefits
- disability benefits
- workers’ compensation benefits
In Texas, the following are excluded from spousal maintenance:
- return of principal or capital
- accounts receivable
Yes, but calculating that income isn’t as simple as checking someone’s W-2s. Self-employment income can vary widely from year to year. Additionally, self-employment comes with hefty business-related expenses, not all of which are recognized as valid deductions for spousal maintenance purposes.
Yes. Rental income is included in spousal maintenance calculations minus mortgage payments and operating expenses. It does not include non-cash items like depreciation. Tex. Fam. Code § 8.055