Spousal support is a legal term that refers to financial help provided to a spouse or partner, either by a divorce decree or by law. In Texas, the term spousal maintenance is the preferred term in court. Many partners stay together for much longer than they wish because they are worried about finances. We want to ensure that you are able to initiate divorce if that’s what you wish, and receive the payments you’re entitled to. Contact The Moffett Law Firm today for your initial consultation.
Texas Family Code
In Texas, under Texas Family Code 8.051, spousal maintenance is a legal obligation that can be enforced through a court order. However, to be eligible for such support, Texas requires that the requesting spouse demonstrates a need and can prove that they are not yet able to support themself. It is also essential to determine if there were any prenuptial or postnuptial agreements in place that could affect a spouse’s ability to be awarded spousal maintenance.
Types of Spousal Support
Texas law provides for a variety of spousal support arrangements, depending on the couple’s financial situation and the needs of each spouse. In general, spouses may be ordered to share in the responsibilities, expenses, and benefits associated with their relationship. Payments may be monthly or as a one-time lump sum.
Texas generally considers the following categories for monetary support: temporary support, spousal maintenance, and contractual spousal maintenance.
Temporary support is not spousal maintenance. Rather, a judge can order temporary support while the divorce is pending to allow the party receiving the payments to get through the divorce before a more permanent decision is made regarding payments.
Spousal maintenance is the amount of money one spouse must pay to the other, and is what people are generally referring to when they discuss spousal support or alimony in Texas. This is what is put in place after the divorce is finalized.
Contractual spousal maintenance is the amount of money one spouse must pay to the other based on an agreement between the two. This is done without court intervention, but it’s still a god idea to contact an attorney to assist you with this.
Amount of Spousal Support and Who Qualifies
Several factors determine the amount of spousal maintenance awarded. Several factors include the following:
The duration of the marriage
If there are any extenuating factors, such as the disability of a child or of one of the spouses, or domestic violence in the marriage
How much time is needed for the spouse receiving spousal maintenance to secure a well-paying job that will allow them to support themself
According to the law, spousal maintenance shall not exceed 20% of the paying spouse’s monthly gross income. If this amount were to exceed $5,000, then the court would cap the payment at $5,000 instead.
Duration of Spousal Maintenance
Texas family law lays out specific parameters for the duration that spousal maintenance should be paid. The law itself follows a decade pattern, where each additional decade of marriage can lead to a more extended period of spousal maintenance. In rare cases, such as disability, the court may order permanent spousal maintenance to be in effect.
Current Texas current law dictates that a spouse can receive payments based on the following timelines:
Fewer than 10 years: There would need to be evidence of domestic violence or a disability
Between 10 and 20 years: 5 years maximum
Between 20 and 30 years: 7 years maximum
More than 30 years: 10 years maximum
The Moffett Law Firm is Here to Help
With a combined 30 years of experience, the attorneys at The Moffett Law Firm will handle your case with competence and care. We understand how important spousal maintenance payments can be, whether you’re on the giving or receiving end. We will do everything in our power to make sure the amount is fair and that you are getting what you need. If you need assistance, please call us at (713) 333-5800 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation.