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Paying Spousal Support

Texas is somewhat unusual when it comes to spousal support. The state presumes that no one receives spousal support unless the spouse requesting it proves they need it under stringent guidelines. This can make life easy for some people but harder for others.

If you are in the process of a divorce and need to know if you are eligible for spousal support (or to find out if there is a chance you might have to pay it), please contact a McKinney divorce attorney at Nordhaus Walpole PLLC.

Our attorneys are experienced in matters of spousal maintenance and can help you arrive at a resolution that is fair and reflects your true situation. We strive to create these resolutions efficiently and sensitively while protecting your interests.

Spousal Maintenance

In Texas, the legal term for what most people call alimony is spousal maintenance. In this sense, the payments maintain the receiving spouse for a period of time between the marriage and the ability for the receiving spouse to support himself or herself. Payments do not go on forever the way they might in other states.

In order to qualify for maintenance, we would need to show that you are unable to support yourself at the time of the divorce because of a lack of property and one of four possible other circumstances:

  • You are unable to support yourself due to a physical or mental disability.
  • You have custody of a child with a physical or mental disability and care prevents you from working to meet basic needs.
  • You were married for 10 years or more and are unable to earn enough to meet basic needs.
  • Your spouse committed domestic violence against you or your children either during the divorce proceedings or within the two years prior.

In these instances, maintenance may be granted for a temporary period of time based on the length of the marriage. While a judge can order maintenance to last for shorter periods of time, the length of time will not exceed the thresholds set by law.

Length of Marriage Time Limit on Maintenance
Any length with a special needs child Until special needs cease
Less than 10 years No support
Less than 10 years with domestic violence 5 years
10 - 20 years 5 years
20 - 30 years 7 years
More than 30 years 10 years

Additionally, the amount of support is capped in Texas. Spouses will not have to pay more than $5000 or 20 percent of their income, whichever is less; but this rule is, of course, subject to change in the future.

Determining Maintenance Amounts

Once eligibility for spousal maintenance has been determined, a judge will decide how much support is paid. This is when having a thorough, highly experienced divorce attorney on your side can really pay off in the long run.

The judge’s decision is made on a case-by-case basis, so we will present every bit of evidence available to us to show exactly the nature of your situation in hopes that the judge will rule fairly and in your favor.

We will need to show evidence of the nature of many aspects of your life, your spouse’s life, your marriage and how the marriage affected earnings and earning ability. The following will need to be considered:

  • Length of marriage
  • Financial resources
  • Present employment
  • Employment history
  • Employability
  • Separate property
  • Use of community property
 

Let us know what your current situation is so we can assist you in matters of spousal maintenance. Contact a Nordhaus Walpole divorce attorney today.