Spousal Support And Post-Divorce Maintenance
When spouses divorce, one spouse may be legally required to pay money to the other spouse. This can happen while the divorce is going on or after the divorce. Whether you hope to receive this money or believe you may have to pay it, it is important to work closely with an experienced family lawyer. For years, people across San Antonio have relied on Law Office of Rebecca Anne Gonzalez. My team provides exceptional representation in all types of family law and divorce matters.
Spousal Support Before A Divorce Is Final
When one spouse earns much less than the other, or if one spouse does not work at all and is financially dependent on the other, the court is likely to order the higher-earning spouse to pay temporary spousal support during divorce. By granting this temporary support, it will ensure that the lower-earning spouse has enough money to pay expenses. My law firm represents spouses on both sides of this situation. If you need spousal support while your divorce is pending, we will present a strong case to the judge.
Post-Divorce Maintenance Is A Different Issue
Courts can order one spouse to pay the other post-divorce maintenance after the divorce is final. While temporary spousal support is almost automatic when there is a significant earnings disparity between spouses, post-divorce maintenance is not automatic. Under Chapter 8 of the Texas Family Code, courts will first consider whether a spouse has sufficient property to “provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs.” Courts will then consider the following factors:
- Whether the spouse seeking maintenance has “an incapacitating mental or physical disability.”
- Whether the parties have been married for 10 or more years, and the spouse seeking maintenance lacks “the ability to earn sufficient income to provide for his or her reasonable needs.”
- The spouse receiving maintenance is caring for a child with a disability that prevents this spouse from earning sufficient income.
- The spouse paying maintenance was convicted of, or received deferred adjudication, for “an act of family violence.”
For post-divorce maintenance, Texas courts cannot require a spouse to pay more than $5,000 a month, or 20% of his or her gross income, whichever is less.
Duration Of Post-Divorce Maintenance
In addition to the amount of post-divorce maintenance, divorcing spouses are typically concerned about how long they will pay or receive alimony. Under Chapter 8 of the Texas Family Code, courts are limited in how long they can require a spouse to pay post-divorce maintenance. Courts can order a spouse to pay post-divorce maintenance for no more than five years under the following conditions.
- If the spouses were married for less than 10 years and the spouse paying post-divorce maintenance was convicted of or received deferred adjudication for an act of family violence, or
- The spouses were married between 10 and 20 years
Courts can order a spouse to pay post-divorce maintenance for no more than seven years if the marriage lasted between 20 and 30 years. For marriages lasting 30 years or longer, courts can order spouses to pay post-divorce maintenance for no more than 10 years. In all cases, courts are required limit the duration of post-divorce maintenance to the “shortest reasonable time frame.”
Whatever your situation, I am committed to a fair outcome. I will closely review all factors to determine whether spousal support or post-divorce maintenance will play a role in your divorce. If it will, I will work to pursue fair payments and the appropriate duration. With a wealth of experience in these matters, I understand the tendencies of Texas courts and can provide appropriate guidance in spousal maintenance matters.
If you are already paying or receiving spousal maintenance and need to make a change or enforce orders, I can help you reach an efficient resolution.
Contact Us For An Initial Consultation About Spousal Maintenance
Need to talk to an experienced attorney about alimony? Contact me today at 210-888-9836 or toll free at 800-823-6321 or, if you prefer, by email. Evening and weekend appointments are available upon request.