Spousal maintenance after a divorce is a topic that has generated many misconceptions. Family law attorneys in Texas find this is partly due to the fact that every state treats spousal maintenance or support differently. Until recently, spouses in Texas were for the most part not entitled to spousal support. Lawyers who help clients with divorce now know that the law regarding spousal maintenance has changed and they can help spouses file for support so long as they meet certain qualifications.
Spousal Maintenance Law in Texas
Spousal maintenance, also called spousal support or alimony, is the financial support that one spouse pays to the other spouse under certain circumstances after a divorce. Prior to 2011, spouses divorcing in Texas were generally not entitled to spousal support. This changed after HB901 of the Texas Family Code was put into effect, making spousal support available to some spouses if they meet certain requirements which family law attorneys say prove actual need.
Spousal maintenance is still not commonly awarded and falls under an automatic “rebuttable presumption,” which is an assumption that support is not needed and will not be granted. Divorce attorneys can file a request for support if spouses meet certain requirements and other factors concerning the marriage. If deemed eligible, some spouses may be eligible to receive support. The amount and length of time support is provide will be determined by factors in the marriage and the filing spouse’s personal circumstances.
Determining Need for Spousal Maintenance
Spousal support can be arranged between divorcing couples on their own, with the assistance of divorce lawyers who can guide them. In situations where no agreement has been reached about spousal support and a spouse is still seeking it, support must be determined and order by the court. For spouses to be granted court-ordered spousal maintenance, they must show that they meet the requirements necessary to be eligible for support that include lack of sufficient, separately-owned property after the divorce and one of the following two conditions:
- The paying spouse must have been convicted of or received deferred adjudication for an act of domestic violence against the requesting spouse either during the divorce or within two years of the divorce.
- The spouse requesting support must be incapable of earning enough money to provide the minimal reasonable needs for himself or herself because of: a crippling physical or mental impairment; a need to provide substantial supervision and care to a child from the marriage with a mental or physical disability; or c) having been married to the paying spouse for ten or more years
Following these guidelines, Texas spouses with the help of their divorce lawyers can determine whether their needs make them eligible for spousal support. Attorneys who help clients with divorce must demonstrate that their client qualifies for support at the time the request is made before court-ordered spousal maintenance will be granted. Those with questions about spousal maintenance, or would like help arranging a maintenance plan outside of the courts, should speak to experienced family law attorneys for help in making the best decisions during their divorce.
Foreman Family Law, PLLC
309 North Washington Avenue, Suite 12
Bryan TX 77803