Spousal support (or Spousal Maintenance as it’s officially called in Texas) is the court-ordered payment from one spouse to another after a divorce. Alimony is a term most have heard, but in Texas, the term is Spousal Maintenance.
However, parties can agree to contractual alimony in mediation or settlement. However, in certain situations, the court may consider a spouse’s request for spousal maintenance. At the Law Office of Jason Wright, Attorney Jason Wright has extensive experience handling spousal maintenance issues and can provide you with effective advocacy at every step of the process. He will ensure that your rights are represented and do everything he can to ensure that whatever arrangements are made reflect your best interests.
When Will a Texas Court Award Spousal Support?
Under state law, the party seeking spousal maintenance must prove to the court that they are eligible. There are specific ways in which a spouse is eligible for spousal maintenance.
If a couple was married for at least ten (10) years, either spouse may qualify to receive spousal maintenance. However, to establish eligibility on this basis, the requesting spouse must show that they lack the assets or income to provide for their reasonable needs. In addition, they may qualify if they are disabled, caring for a minor child with a disability, or cannot earn an income that would provide for their reasonable needs. If the court determines spousal maintenance is appropriate, the payments may be ordered for up to 10 years, depending on the length of the marriage:
• Marriages between 10 and 20 years in duration: up to five years of maintenance payments
• Marriages between 20 and 30 years in duration: up to seven years of maintenance payments
• Marriages over 30 years in duration: up to ten years of maintenance payments
If the party from whom spousal maintenance is sought was convicted of a family violence offense within two years of filing for divorce or received deferred adjudication for such an offense, the other spouse may qualify for spousal support. However, the offense must have been committed against the spouse seeking maintenance or their children. For these purposes, the length of the marriage is irrelevant. In this situation, a court may award spousal maintenance for up to five years.
Spousal Maintenance by Agreement
While Texas courts will not award alimony in every case, spouses can agree on their own. Often, these agreements come up in the form of prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, which are contracts between spouses entered into before or after the marriage is finalized. In this context, the parties can agree to whatever duration of spousal maintenance payments they see fit.
How Much Are Spousal Maintenance Monthly Payments in Texas?
If the court determines that spousal maintenance is appropriate, it still must determine the amount of the maintenance payments. The court will consider a variety of factors, including:
• The educational background of the spouses;
• The duration of the marriage;
• The age of the spouse requesting maintenance;
• The employment history of each spouse;
• Each spouse’s contributions to the family household; and
• Whether one spouse was unfaithful to the other.
A court awarding spousal maintenance is limited in the amount it requires a spouse to pay. Typically, the maximum monthly payments equal the lesser of $5,000 per month or 20 percent of the paying spouse’s average monthly gross income.
If you see divorce on the horizon and are concerned about how spousal maintenance may play into the process, reach out to the Law Office of Jason Wright for immediate assistance. Attorney Jason Wright is a skilled Austin divorce lawyer with extensive experience handling some of the most complex and contested divorces, including those involving requests for spousal maintenance. He takes a practical approach to every case he handles, attempting to resolve as many issues as possible through agreement to decrease the stress and anxiety that often comes along with going through a divorce. However, as an experienced litigator, Attorney Jason Wright is prepared to aggressively advocate on your behalf when your spouse is unwilling to come to a fair agreement. To learn more and to schedule a free consultation, call 512-884-1221 today. You can also reach us through our online contact form.
To get in touch with us, give us a call at 512-884-1221 or submit the form below. We are committed to zealously working to find the solution that is best for you and your family.