Houston, TX asked in Family Law for Texas

Q: Need legal advise for family law pertaining to alimony and spousal maintenance

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2 Lawyer Answers
Elaine Brown
Elaine Brown
Answered
  • Dripping Springs, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: Texas allows for spousal maintenance in limited circumstances. The spouses must have been married for at least ten years and the spouse requesting maintenance must prove they cannot earn enough to meet their reasonable minimum needs, or the spouse requesting maintenance must have an incapacitating mental or physical disability that prevents them from earning enough to meet their minimum reasonable needs, or the spouse requesting maintenance must show that they are the custodian of a child of the marriage who requires substantial care because of a physical or mental disability that prevents the spouse from earning sufficient income to meet their minimum reasonable needs. An additional reason that spousal support may be ordered is if there has been a conviction or deferred adjudication for domestic violence committed against the spouse requesting maintenance by the other spouse or either child either during the time the Divorce is pending or two years before the Divorce is filed.

Alimony is a contractual arrangement that is agreed upon by the parties to the Divorce. It is advisable for you to contact a family law attorney to find out more about these two options.

This is information is provided for education purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.

Johnathan Tracy Ball Esq.
Johnathan Tracy Ball Esq.
Answered
  • MCALLEN, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: There is a difference between alimony and spousal support. A Texas Court cannot Order alimony. It can Order spousal support. However, the parties can agree to what is called contractual alimony. If they agree to contractual alimony, then it can be put in the divorce decree and enforced as a court order. Spousal support is different. If you have been married for at least ten years, and do not possess the skills necessary to provide for your basic needs, then the court may order spousal support. Think of situations where a husband was the primary bread winner for 15 years and wife was a homemaker. Wife has not been in the workforce for those 15 years. The Court can order husband to pay monthly spousal support to allow wife time to enter the workforce and begin earning. The Court must consider also the size of the estate being awarded to wife. If it is a large estate, and wife is awarded a large six figure portion, spousal support may not happen. The court is instructed to look at the following;

the marriage has been for ten years or longer and the spouse made diligent efforts to either earn sufficient income or to develop necessary skills while the divorce is pending to meet his or her minimum reasonable needs; or

the other spouse has committed family violence; or

the requesting spouse has an incapacitating disability that arose during marriage; or

a child of the marriage (of any age) has a physical or mental disability that prevents the spouse who cares for and supervises the child from earning sufficient income.

The easiest way is to contact an attorney to have a discussion about this issue.

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