Alimony & Spousal Maintenance
Our Family Law Attorneys Will Assist You with Determining Proper Spousal Support in Texas.
Alimony in Texas is called spousal maintenance. Spousal maintenance is part of the divorce decree. There are two ways to acquire alimony/spousal maintenance; by agreement and by court order. The parties to a divorce in Texas can agree to terms of alimony/spousal maintenance, as they deem appropriate in their individual case. If the parties cannot agree to alimony/spousal maintenance payments, a party can request the Court order alimony/spousal support payments if they are eligible foe payments under the Texas Family Code.
Do You Qualify for Spousal Maintenance?
Alimony/Spousal Maintenance is not automatically included in every divorce, which is why it is important to know your rights. You need to know if you qualify, and if so how much you can receive and for how long. The presumption of the court is that spousal support will not be needed, and the spouse has to show justification for maintenance. Justification for spousal maintenance includes having an incapacitating physical or mental disability, being married for more than ten years and lacking ability to earn sufficient income, being the caretaker of a child of the marriage who requires substantial care and supervision due to a physical or mental disability or a spouse receiving a conviction for family violence within the two years before the divorce is filed.
The most common situation for an award of spousal support is where one spouse gave up work or career positions to fill a role in the marriage and home, such as taking care of the kids. If a marriage lasted a long time, it may not be possible to regain those opportunities and re-establish a career. A party in this cirumstance would have to demonstrate that they cannot provide for their immediate minimal living expenses, and will require some level of spousal maintenance.
To gain spousal support in Texas one must use a few factors to show necessity including:
• The spouse’s previous educational and work history;
• Whether they have skills that are employable;
• Their age and health;
• The duration of the marriage; and
• Current financial resources.
If a court does award support, it is not guaranteed for life. Usually spousal maintenance is limited to five to ten years depending on the length of the marriage, unless the spouse is disabled. Also the dollar amount is limited to a $5000 per month cap or 20% of the other spouse’s income, whichever is less. These limitations are designed to avoid hardship on the spouse paying support and encourage the receiving spouse to seek other means of support.
If the two spouses can agree on spousal maintenance that may also affect decisions regarding division of property and child support. The court will review an agreement to ensure that it is equitable, and for this reason it is important to have an attorney represent you in drafting any agreement. You must protect your rights and future following a divorce and should be careful not to concede too much without understanding the consequences.
How We Can Help
If you are involved in a contested divorce, all of these issues may be disputed and subject to litigation. Merritt Law is your family lawyer for any divorce action and can seek the spousal support that you need to begin a new life. Your efforts and role in the marriage have value and can now be part of an overall divorce agreement that includes a fair division of property and adequate support payments for you and your children. Please contact us to discuss your divorce and the potential for spousal support in Texas.