Spousal Support in a Texas Divorce case can be awarded to a party for the duration of the divorce. The support intended to be temporary in duration so that the spouse who lacks the wherewithal to earn sufficient income to support themselves can begin to transition into an “earner”.
There is a duty in Texas to support your spouse during the marriage for the following:
- shelter, and
- medical care
While the parties are working on resolving their divorce the bills that a family is responsible for do not stop coming in the mail so part of a divorce is deciding who is going to pay what during the case.
Requirements to receive Temporary Spousal Support
To receive temporary spousal support a spouse must show:
- That parties are legally married
- That he or she is unable to pay for necessary expenses
- The other spouse can afford to pay the amount of spousal support that is being sought
The idea is that a spouse who is requesting spousal support will not need additional support after the divorce is finalized. This is due to the fact, at least in part, that because divorce in Texas will take at least sixty days the spouse will have an opportunity to acquire a job whose income can sustain them moving forward.
In handling cases where spousal support was awarded to clients temporarily, I can agree from experience that the stopping of financial support is a motivator to finding sustainable employment.
If, however, a person is not able to find employment during the divorce they should certainly request support for some time after the divorce is finalized. How likely a person is to receive post-divorce spousal maintenance is a different matter altogether.
Requirements to receive Post-Divorce Spousal Maintenance
1997 was the first year that the State of Texas had a law on the books that dealt with the issue of spousal support. The intent of the passage of this law was the minimize the need for spouses who are dependent on the income of their partner from becoming dependent on the State for support after their marriage ends.
Spousal Support is commonly referred to as “alimony” and is money that one spouse pays to their former spouse for a certain period after the divorce. In some instances, spousal support can be ordered by a Judge or the parties can agree that spousal support is paid for a specific length of time.
An essential part of receiving spousal support from a court is pleading for it in your Petition or Answer. If the parties lack a significant amount of property that can be split between them it is more likely that a Judge will award spousal support. The length of the marriage is also critical- they will typically need to have been married for at least ten years before an award of spousal support can be made.
Finally, a party that is requesting spousal support must show a court that they cannot earn a sufficient income to meet their minimal needs and that they are making a diligent effort to do so.
Other scenarios that can result in an award of post-divorce spousal support
State law provides for a handful of ways that spousal support can be awarded on its own merits:
- Family Violence has been committed by the spouse of whom spousal support is being requested
- The requesting spouse has a disability that has left them incapacitated
- The lack of the ability by a requesting spouse to earn a sufficient income to sustain their minimal needs is due to their being responsible for the care of a child with a mental or physical disability
How Long can Spousal Support Last?
The general limits to spousal support awards are as follows:
- A marriage of at least 10 years but less than 20 years have a spousal support duration of no more than five years
- A marriage of at least 20 years but less than 30 years has a spousal support duration of no more than seven years
- A marriage of at least 30 years or more has a spousal support duration of no more than ten years
Spousal Support awards: How much can someone be ordered to pay
What will a judge take into consideration when making an order for one spouse to pay spousal support to the other party? Here is a list:
- The financial resources of each spouse after the divorce (taking into consideration the party’s separate property interests as well)
- The ability of the spouse to pay their bills should he or she be ordered to pay spousal support
- A spouse’s history of contributions to the education and increased earning potential of the other spouse
- Possible wasting of community assets
- Contributions to the marital home in the form of upkeep and maintenance
- Family violence
- Misconduct (i.e. infidelity) during the marriage
Post-divorce support based on an agreement
As previously stated, the parties can agree to spousal support as a means of settling a divorce case. The aforementioned requirements do not apply to an agreement between the parties to have support paid. The length and amount of support are also up to the agreement of the parties and not a Court.
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC knows how to negotiate for spousal maintenance
If you need to request spousal maintenance the best resource you can have is an attorney who can not only deliver the results you expect and need. The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC are known throughout southeast Texas as effective and client-centric advocates. Please contact us today to learn more about spousal maintenance and any other family law questions you may have. Our consultations are free of charge and are offered six days per week.
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Spring Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with one of our Spring, TX Divorce Lawyers immediately to protect your rights.
Our divorce lawyers in Spring TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Spring, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, and surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.