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Issues That Can Affect Spousal Support in a Texas Divorce

Posted on in Divorce

Tarrant County, TX Divorce AttorneyDivorce can be a daunting process, since there are numerous legal and financial concerns that a couple will need to address before they can end their marriage. In some cases, one spouse may believe that they are at a financial disadvantage because they rely on the other spouse to earn the majority of the family's income or because there are factors that prevent them from maintaining employment and fully supporting themselves. Depending on the situation, spousal support may be appropriate. This form of support will require one spouse to make ongoing payments to the other to ensure that they will be able to meet their ongoing needs. By understanding the factors that may be considered by a family court judge when addressing issues related to spousal support, divorcing spouses can advocate for solutions that will protect their financial interests.

Who Is Eligible for Spousal Support?

Under Texas law, spousal support is referred to as "spousal maintenance." However, it is also commonly known as "alimony." Not every spouse is eligible for spousal support in a Texas divorce. Generally, spousal support can be ordered for a spouse who does not own sufficient property that will allow them to meet their reasonable needs. That is, if the assets awarded to a spouse during the property division process and the separate property they owned prior to getting married will not provide them with enough financial resources to support themselves, they may request ongoing spousal support payments.

In addition to a lack of sufficient property, a spouse who requests spousal maintenance will need to meet one of the following requirements:

  • After being married for at least 10 years, they are unable to earn sufficient income to meet their reasonable needs.

  • They cannot fully provide for their reasonable needs due to a disability, including physical impairments or debilitating mental health issues.

  • They will be the primary custodian of a child with a disability, and the requirement to provide ongoing care for the child will limit their ability to earn enough income to meet their reasonable needs.

  • They experienced domestic violence either during the divorce process or within two years before filing for divorce, and the other spouse was convicted of a family violence offense or received deferred adjudication.

What Factors Are Considered in Spousal Support Cases?

If the eligibility requirements for spousal maintenance have been met, a family court judge will then need to determine how much support will be paid, the amount of time that payments will last, and the manner in which payments will be made. When making these decisions, several different factors will be considered, including:

  • Length of the marriage: In general, for marriages of at least 10 years, maintenance payments may last for five years. For marriages of 20 to 30 years, maintenance may be paid for seven years. For marriages of more than 30 years, spousal support may last for 10 years.

  • Income and earning potential: A judge will look at each spouse's ability to meet their own reasonable needs independently. Each spouse's level of education, work experience, and employability may also be considered, including the amount of time the recipient of spousal support may need to pursue education or training so that they will be able to earn sufficient income in the future. Contributions that one spouse made to the other spouse's earning potential and contributions a person made to the family as a homemaker may also play a role in decisions about alimony.

  • Health and age: The physical and mental health of both spouses may be considered in the determination of spousal support. If one spouse has a medical condition that limits their ability to work or requires ongoing care, the court may award more spousal support to help cover their medical expenses. Similarly, if one spouse is older than the other and is not likely to be able to work as long as the younger spouse, the judge may adjust the amount or duration of spousal support accordingly.

  • Marital misconduct: Actions that affected the marriage, such as infidelity or cruel treatment of one spouse by the other, may play a role in decisions about spousal support. Actions that caused financial harm for one or both parties, such as the purposeful wasting or destruction of marital property, may also be considered when determining how much spousal support will be paid or how long payments will last.

Contact Our Hurst Spousal Maintenance Lawyer

If you are going through a divorce in Texas and are concerned about spousal support, it is important to speak with an experienced divorce lawyer who can help you understand your rights and options. At Daniel R. Bacalis, P.C., our Tarrant County spousal support attorney can work with you to ensure that you receive a fair and just divorce settlement that will protect your financial interests. Whether you expect to receive or pay spousal support, we can advise you on how this issue will be addressed during your case, and we will advocate for solutions that will meet your ongoing needs. Contact us at 817-498-4105 to arrange a free consultation and learn more about how we can help with your case.


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