HOUSTON SPOUSAL SUPPORT LAWYER
Splitting a household’s finances at the end of a marriage is stressful. You may wonder if you will qualify for spousal maintenance post-divorce or temporary spousal support during the dependency of the divorce. The answer to these questions can involve many complicated factors.
The experienced Houston spousal support lawyers at Moffett Law Firm can answer your questions about spousal maintenance and temporary spousal support and work to protect your financial interests. We have 30 years of combined experience, working aggressively to achieve our client’s legal goals and protect what is important to them. With personalized attention and fierce advocacy, our Houston spousal maintenance lawyers will guide you through the legal process so you are equipped to make the best decisions for your unique situation.
How Is Spousal Support Determined in Houston?
In contested divorce cases, when a resolution outside of court is not possible, a spouse may include a demand for spousal support, or alimony, in his or her terms for a divorce. A judge will make the decision of whether to award spousal support based on several of the following factors:
- Any financial resources available to each party once their property is divided
- Education and employment of each spouse
- The duration necessary to obtain adequate education or training to help the spouse to earn sufficient income
- Contributions generated in the degree of a homemaker and stay-at-home parent
The judge may also look into additional factors to determine spousal support, such as the duration of the marriage, their health and age, and how the spouses may have treated each other.
The spouse seeking support may also have to demonstrate that they have diligently searched for employment, training, or educational opportunities.
Types of Spousal Support in Houston
In Houston, there are two types of spousal support you may be eligible for in a divorce: contractual alimony and spousal maintenance.
Contractual alimony is awarded when both parties agree to either pay or receive support after the dissolution of their marriage. This type of support is non-court mandated, which may mean that the amount awarded is outside of statutory limits, and the duration may exceed limits imposed on court-ordered spousal maintenance.
This type of spousal support may be beneficial to those who would like to have more control over the terms of their spousal support agreement. However, they are also not as easily modified or enforced as court-ordered spousal support agreements. For example, you must pursue a civil claim to enforce contractual alimony rather than court-ordered enforcement actions.
Texas Family Code § 8.001 states that spousal maintenance is the monetary award a spouse occasionally pays from their income to support the other spouse after the dissolution of their marriage. Typically, it is court-ordered without the consent or approval of either party.
To receive or provide spousal maintenance, the party seeking support must lack the means to provide for minimum reasonable needs due to physical or mental disability and must meet one or more of the following requirements:
- The spouse from whom maintenance was requested was convicted of domestic abuse within two years of filing for divorce
- Has been married for ten years or longer and doesn’t earn enough income to provide for their needs
- The spouse seeking support does not have enough property to provide for their reasonable needs
Based on these factors, the judge will determine the nature, amount, duration, and other methods of support.
Temporary vs. Long-Term Maintenance in Texas
While the divorce case is still pending, a party may be eligible for temporary spousal support. The courts may grant temporary spousal support in an effort to maintain the financial status quo of the parties until the divorce is final. The court will only grant long-term spousal maintenance as part of the final divorce decree.
The amount of temporary support is usually based on need, and we can correctly assess and advocate for your level of need. Without the right professionals at your side, you could overpay the amount of temporary spousal support needed for the other party to meet his or her financial obligations or under-receive what you need to meet your financial obligations while the case is pending.
Changes to Texas family laws have increased the length of time for payment of spousal maintenance post-divorce. The party filing for support may receive up to five, seven, or ten years of spousal maintenance if they qualify. Contact the Houston spousal maintenance attorneys at Moffett Law Firm for more information on these legal changes and how they affect your case.
Schedule a Consultation With the Experienced Houston Spousal Support Lawyers at Moffett Law Firm
Whether you seek spousal support or are being asked for support, the Moffett Law Firm is well-versed in the most complex divorce cases and can help provide legal guidance to aggressively protect your best interests and financial future.