Cypress Spousal Support Attorneys
Figure Out Spousal Maintenance with Our Help
At Hunt Law Firm, PLLC, we understand that navigating the complexities of spousal support can be an emotionally challenging and stressful experience. Our dedicated team of Cypress spousal support attorneys is here to provide you with compassionate guidance and trusted legal representation throughout the entire process. Whether you will need to receive or pay spousal support after divorce, we are committed to helping you achieve a fair and equitable resolution that protects your financial future and safeguards your interests.
What is Spousal Support?
In Texas, spousal support is financial assistance paid by one spouse to the other after a divorce as part of a divorce agreement. Spousal maintenance is similar but usually begins due to a court order. You might read the term “alimony” instead of spousal support in some contexts, but Texas law does not officially use alimony.
The purpose of spousal support is to provide financial stability for the spouse who may be unable to meet their basic needs or has become financially dependent on the other spouse during the marriage. The amount and duration of spousal support depend on various factors, including the length of the marriage, each spouse's financial resources, earning capacity, and the presence of any disabilities or specific needs. Texas courts carefully consider these factors to determine an appropriate and fair spousal support arrangement following a divorce, but the arrangement can also be drafted beforehand with negotiations between the two spouses.
Is Spousal Support Automatic?
A spouse does not automatically receive spousal support after a divorce. In most cases, the spouse seeking support will likely need to request it during the divorce proceedings. The court will then evaluate various factors to determine whether spousal support is warranted. The court will also assess the requesting spouse's ability to become self-sufficient and maintain a reasonable standard of living. If the court decides that spousal support is appropriate, it will establish the amount and duration of the payments based on the circumstances of the case.
How to Qualify to Receive Spousal Support
In Texas, to qualify for spousal support, the requesting spouse must demonstrate that they are unable to meet their minimum reasonable needs without financial assistance. There are specific eligibility criteria that must be met before a court will consider granting spousal support.
Four of the main considerations for spousal support orders or decisions:
- Duration of the marriage: The couple must have been married for at least 10 years, and the requesting spouse must lack sufficient property and resources to provide for their minimum reasonable needs.
- Disability: The requesting spouse must have a physical or mental disability that prevents them from earning enough income to meet their minimum reasonable needs.
- Caring for a disabled child: The requesting spouse must be the primary caretaker of a child from the marriage who has a physical or mental disability that requires substantial care and personal supervision, preventing the requesting spouse from earning enough income to meet their minimum reasonable needs. A case involving the care of a disabled child can be particularly complex when child support is factored in.
- Family violence: The paying spouse must have been convicted of an act of family violence against the requesting spouse or their child during the marriage. This must have occurred within two years before the divorce filing or while the divorce is pending.
Even if a spouse meets one or more of these eligibility criteria, the court will still consider various factors before deciding on the amount and duration of spousal support. The court’s discretion is always a factor, so spousal maintenance is never guaranteed.
How Long Does Spousal Support Last?
In Texas, the duration of spousal support depends on the specific circumstances of each case, such as the length of the marriage and the reason for granting support.
Texas law sets general guidelines for spousal support or maintenance durations, including:
- Five years: Marriage lasted less than 10 years and the supporting spouse was convicted of family violence.
- Five years: Marriage lasted more than 10 years but less than 20 years.
- Seven years: Marriage lasted at least 20 years but less than 30 years.
- 10 years: Marriage lasted for more than 30 years.
The actual duration of spousal support may be shorter if the court determines that the receiving spouse can become self-sufficient sooner. Additionally, spousal support will typically end if certain events occur, such as the death of either spouse, the remarriage of the receiving spouse, or a significant change in circumstances that affects the receiving spouse's financial needs. In some cases, parties may agree to a contractual spousal support arrangement outside of these limits, which can have different terms and durations based on their agreement.
How Much Spousal Support Can You Receive?
In Texas, the amount of spousal support or maintenance is determined by the court. Unlike many other states, Texas will cap how much money can be provided by the paying spouse each month, regardless of their total income. The paying spouse cannot be ordered to pay more than $5,000 a month or 20% of their average monthly income, whichever is less.
Can Spousal Support Be Modified?
Spousal support can be modified in certain circumstances. In Texas, either spouse can request a modification of the spousal support order if there has been a material and substantial change in circumstances since the original order was issued.
Some examples of material and substantial changes include:
- Significant increase or decrease in the paying spouse's income.
- Unexpected job loss or financial hardship for either spouse.
- Substantial change in the receiving spouse's financial needs.
- Receiving spouse remarries or lives with a romantic partner.
To request a modification of spousal support, the requesting party must file a petition with the court that issued the original order unless both parties no longer live in that court’s jurisdiction. You should be prepared to provide evidence supporting the claim of a material and substantial change in circumstances. The court will then review the evidence and may adjust the amount or duration of spousal support accordingly. We can help you through this entire process.
Questions About Spousal Support? Call Now
Our dedicated team of Cypress spousal support lawyers is here to guide you through every step of this process, providing compassionate and personalized legal advice tailored to your unique situation. We understand the importance of securing a fair and equitable spousal support arrangement that allows both parties to move forward with confidence and financial stability. If you need assistance with spousal support matters or any other aspect of family law, please don't hesitate to contact us today to schedule a consultation.
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