Skillfully representing clients through all maintenance and support matters
Many people going through the process of divorce in Texas worry they will be required to pay support to their ex-spouse for an indefinite period of time. However, Texas law only provides spousal maintenance in very limited circumstances, and for a limited period of time. At the Law Office of Kyle Whitaker , our Fort Worth divorce lawyers are dedicated to providing you comprehensive information about the potential for spousal maintenance in your particular case.
Eligibility for spousal maintenance
A spouse is only eligible for Texas spousal maintenance under very limited circumstances. The spouse requesting monetary maintenance must lack sufficient resources after the divorce is finalized to provide for his or her minimum reasonable needs. Then, the spouse must prove that one of the following conditions applies:
Paying spouse was convicted of an act of family violence
The first condition is that the paying spouse was convicted of an act of family violence under Texas law. To be eligible under this condition, the recipient spouse must show the following:
The act of family violence was committed during the marriage; and
The act of family violence occurred before two years from the filing of a divorce action; or
The act of family violence was committed while a divorce action was pending
A spouse may be eligible for spousal maintenance under this condition if the spouse received deferred adjudication in exchange for pleading guilty. Additionally, spousal maintenance may be ordered even if the paying spouse was convicted of only a misdemeanor offense involving a family act of violence.
The recipient spouse is unable to earn adequate income to provide for his or her minimum reasonable needs
Under this condition, the spouse requesting spousal maintenance must show one of the following:
The spouse is unable to earn a living due to a physical or mental disability;
The spouse cannot earn a living because a child of the marriage requires substantial care due to a physical or mental disability; or
The spouses have been married for at least ten years.
These criteria apply to court-ordered spousal maintenance after divorce.
Determining the amount and length of support
If a spouse requests support and shows that he or she is eligible for it, the court then determines the amount and duration of support. The court considers several factors when making these determinations, such as:
The educational background of each spouse;
The length of the marriage;
The age of the spouse requesting maintenance;
The contributions that the recipient spouse made to the family;
Attempts at finding employment and the recipient spouse’s employment history
The court can determine that the spouse is paid no support, the full amount of support or another amount of support. The full amount of support is the lesser of $5,000 a month or 20 percent of the paying spouse’s average monthly gross income.
The duration of spousal support depends on the length of the marriage. If the marriage lasted less than twenty years, post-divorce support can last up to five years. If the marriage lasted between 20 and 30 years, the longest duration for which support must be paid is seven years. For marriages that lasted more than 30 years, the maximum duration for post-divorce support is ten years.
Contact a skilled Fort Worth spousal maintenance lawyer for assistance
Spousal support matters can have an impact on your life for many years to come. In addition to court-ordered spousal maintenance, there may also be temporary support ordered during the pendency of a divorce action, or financial support the parties agree to, even if the spouse seeking it would not have met the eligibility criteria. When dealing with support matters, it is important to have an experienced Texas divorce lawyer who can advocate for your best interests. For help with your spousal maintenance matter, contact the Law Office of Kyle Whitaker. Contact us online or by phone at (817) 332-7703.