Katy Spousal Support Attorneys
Spousal Maintenance in Texas Divorces
Spousal maintenance is defined in Chapter 8 of the Texas Family Code. In order to receive spousal maintenance, the Court must determine that a spouse is eligible and meets the different requirements. It should be noted that spousal maintenance is not guaranteed. A judge must determine eligibility for spousal support and the amount. The law states that if a spouse meets the requirements, the Court may award spousal maintenance, not that the Court must award spousal maintenance.
The Texas Family Code outlines several scenarios where individuals may be eligible to receive support payments from their ex-spouse. At Hunt Law Firm our Katy spousal support attorneys counsels and represents individuals who are eligible to petition a court for spousal maintenance payments.
At Hunt Law Firm we provide guidance in all spousal support matters. Call (832) 781-0320 today to get started.
On This Page
- How Is Spousal Support Determined?
- Duration of Spousal Maintenance
- Frequently Asked Questions
First, the Court must determine that a spouse seeking maintenance will lack sufficient property and cannot meet their minimum reasonable needs after the divorce. This means that a party who wants spousal maintenance has to show that there is not enough property for them to be awarded after the divorce to live on.
“Minimum reasonable needs” means that a party is able to have a roof over their head, food on the table and that they can live on their own. The Court does not award spousal maintenance in order for a spouse to have a certain lifestyle. Additional factors the Court considers are financial resources available to a party, education, age, health, or employment skills.
In most cases, the Court is going to require a spouse seeking spousal maintenance to seek gainful employment. The Court wants to see that a spouse made every opportunity to diligently search for employment, training and educational opportunities. Unfortunately, with divorce, a party’s standard of living changes and is not the same as it was during marriage.
The Court only awards spousal maintenance if a spouse is unable to meet their minimum reasonable needs. If a party can get past this threshold, they then must meet one of four other requirements:
- Conviction of Family Violence
- 10 Year Marriage + Unable to Provide Minimum Reasonable Needs
- Child with Disability
If a spouse whom maintenance is being requested from has been convicted for family violence against the other spouse or a child within two years of filing divorce, a party may receive spousal maintenance. The threshold finding is still required. But, if a spouse can show a conviction occurred for family violence against them or the child within two years of filing for divorce, the Court may award spousal maintenance.
Another way the Court can award spousal maintenance is if a spouse is unable to earn sufficient income to provide for their minimum reasonable needs because of a physical and mental disability. It is not enough that a spouse just have a physical or mental disability rather that spouse must show that the physical or mental disability hinders their ability to provide for their minimum reasonable needs.
There are many individuals who may have a physical or mental disability that can provide for themselves, and even do very well for themselves. Proving that an individual can’t meet their minimum reasonable needs due to a disability will often times require evidence from doctors, psychologist and/or psychiatrist.
It is a misconception in Texas to believe that a marriage of 10+ years results in an automatic award of spousal maintenance. Unfortunately, this is not the case. If a spouse has been married for 10+ years, they only meet the first criteria that they could be awarded spousal maintenance. The spouse then must prove that they are unable to earn a sufficient income to provide for their minimum reasonable needs.
Lifestyle and certain ways of living are not factors the Court considers in awarding spousal maintenance. The Court is going to look to the financial means of the parties and whether the spouse seeking maintenance is awarded a significant amount of property. Then the Court must look to whether the spouse seeking maintenance has diligently made an opportunity to seek gainful employment and provide for themselves. Again, spousal maintenance is not guaranteed even if these factors are met. It is up to the Court’s discretion on whether to award spousal maintenance.
Another way the Court may award spousal maintenance is if a parent is the custodian of a child with a mental or physical disability and that parent is hindered from meeting their minimum reasonable needs. In most cases this can be a very difficult area to navigate and it is important to speak with an attorney about the options.
As with all spousal maintenance claims, maintenance is not guaranteed just because a spouse is taking care of a child with a disability. When there is a child with special needs, there will need to be doctors, psychiatrists or psychologists who will need to testify regarding the child’s disabilities and even financial experts to discuss the financial situation of the parties surrounding the child’s disability.
Thankfully this is something that you don’t have to navigate alone. There are individuals whose primary job is to access the financial aspects of a child with disabilities in divorces. To learn more, please contact our officeand speak with one of our attorneys.
The Texas Family Code includes a list of factors judges use to determine support, including:
- Capacity to provide for his or her own minimal needs independently
- Level of education and skills of employment
- How long the marriage has lasted
- History of employment, age, and earning capacity
- Physical and emotional condition of the person
- Effects of providing for personal needs along with child support
- Property that the spouse brought into the marriage
- Contributions to the marriage and family as a homemaker
The duration of spousal maintenance is capped. Spousal maintenance is meant to be rehabilitative to get a receiving spouse back on their feet and then eventually on their own. Under Texas law, the length of spousal support depends on the duration of the marriage:
- Five years, if the spouses were married less than 10 years and the supporting spouse was convicted of family violence.
- Five years, if the spouses were married more than 10 years but less than 20 years.
- Seven years, if the spouses were married for at least 20 years but not more than 30 years.
- 10 years, if the spouses were married for 30 years or longer.
In general, Texas law requires the duration of the spousal maintenance to the shortest amount of time to allow the spouse seeking maintenance to earn sufficient income to meet their minimum reasonable needs.
Schedule an Initial Consultation With Our Katy Spousal Support Attorney at (832) 781-0320
In order to seek, enforce, or modify spousal support, it is important to hire a trusted Katy, TX divorce lawyer who has your best interests in mind. At Hunt Law Firm, our skilled Katy spousal support lawyers provide representation personalized to the goals and objectives of each client, with the focus on favorable outcomes. Our firm works to fully advocate on each client's behalf to reach positive results.
Contact Hunt Law Firm at (832) 781-0320 today to discuss your case with one of our spousal support lawyers in Katy.
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