ALIMONY OR SPOUSAL MAINTENANCE
Alimony or Spousal Maintenance
Spousal Support Needs Post-Divorce
During a marriage in Texas, each spouse owes the other spouse financial support, providing him or her with sufficient resources to meet that spouse’s needs. That is true even while a divorce action is pending – between the time one party files for a divorce and the time the divorce is actually granted by the court. This support is temporary spousal support and is a mainstay of many divorce proceedings in Texas.
A more difficult question is whether one spouse might be ordered to provide support for their ex-spouse after the divorce is finalized. Such support is possible in the form of court-ordered spousal maintenance or contractual alimony.
Spousal Maintenance/Spousal Support
Article 8 of the Texas Family Code provides for a measure of such support for qualifying spouses and for certain periods of time. Generally, when one spouse is not able – with his/her income and the assets they have on hand – to meet their own minimum reasonable needs, a court may (as a part of the divorce proceeding) order the other spouse to pay post-divorce spousal maintenance or support to help them meet those needs. Most courts define reasonable needs to be a place to live, transportation to function and food to eat. A spouse is not eligible for spousal maintenance, generally, unless the parties have been married at least 10 years, there is a court finding of domestic violence perpetrated by the ex-spouse against the spouse applying for the support or their child, the applicant spouse has a disability that prevents him or her from earning sufficient income to provide for her/his minimum reasonable needs or there is a child of that marriage that is disabled and the care of that child by the applicant spouse renders her/him unable to provide for her or his own minimum reasonable needs.
The Texas Family Code provides for a maximum amount of money the ex-spouse may be ordered to pay and the length of time she/he may be ordered to pay spousal maintenance. The length of time that the court may order spousal maintenance to be paid is usually dependent upon the length of the marriage and the needs of the spouse applying.
In Texas, the parties to a divorce may also agree to contractual alimony if they settle their own case out of court. Since this is a contractual remedy, the parties may agree to whatever amount of spousal maintenance they wish and for whatever period of time they wish.
If you think your spouse might seek spousal maintenance/spousal support in your divorce, or if you think you need spousal support post-divorce in order to live, you need to meet with an experienced family law attorney who understands all of the requirements to qualify for this relief. To discuss your rights and concerns with an experienced Austin family law attorney at the Morrison Law Firm, Email or call our offices today at (512) 328-3030 to schedule an initial consultation.
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