Kerrville Alimony and Maintenance Lawyer Providing Answers to Clients Facing Spousal Maintenance Issues in Texas
A divorce can affect a family in many ways. If during the marriage, one of the spouses was the main caretaker of the children while the other brought in most of the couple’s monthly income, the spouse who did not earn regular wages may find themselves struggling financially while a divorce is underway. Learn how alimony works in Texas and how an alimony and maintenance lawyer may be able to help.
Is Texas an Alimony State?
Texas allows qualifying individuals to receive alimony payments during and after a divorce. These payments are called “spousal maintenance.” In Texas, spousal maintenance can be awarded in certain cases in which the petitioning spouse can demonstrate that they relied on their spouse’s income to cover their basic needs, and the end of the relationship will affect their ability to provide for themselves.
Except for special situations in which the spouse has a physical or mental disability or is the primary caretaker of a child with mental or physical disabilities, courts in Texas set a strict limit on how long maintenance payments may last. The length of the marriage determines whether the spouse will receive maintenance payments for five, seven, or ten years. Courts may order payments for the shortest possible duration and request periodic reviews to evaluate if the spouse receiving maintenance is now capable of earning a living on their own or if circumstances have changed and that spouse no longer qualifies for maintenance payments.
Who Qualifies to Receive Alimony in Texas?
Except for special circumstances such as the supporting spouse being convicted of domestic violence against the other spouse or their children, the court may assume that simply by receiving an equitable share of marital property, both spouses would have the means to support themselves financially and thus alimony is not necessary. The spouse wishing to receive alimony must make their case and establish their need for spousal maintenance before the judge.
A judge overseeing a divorce case may consider several factors to determine if the petitioning spouse should receive spousal maintenance payments. First, the spouse asking for maintenance payments needs to demonstrate that they cannot support themselves or earn an income because they have a mental or physical disability that prevents them from working and making a living. Alternatively, the petitioning spouse may demonstrate that the couple has a child with an illness, physical disability, or mental disability that requires care around the clock and prevents that spouse from working or earning a living.
The length of the marriage is another qualifying factor. In order to receive spousal maintenance, the marriage must have lasted for at least ten years. Suppose no physical or mental disabilities are present. In that case, the spouse must demonstrate that they lack the skills and earning ability to survive in the job market and produce enough income to provide for their basic needs or that they lack sufficient property – even after receiving a share of marital property – to cover basic living expenses.
The courts understand that maintenance payments are supposed to work as a temporary relief to enable a spouse to gain the means to make a living on their own. For that reason, those seeking to receive spousal maintenance payments simply to avoid downgrading the standard of living they have enjoyed during the marriage may struggle to have their request accepted by the judge, as maintenance payments may typically only be used for basic expenses like food, shelter, transportation, and clothing, for example.
How Are Alimony Payments Calculated?
Texas has clear guidelines for calculating maintenance payments and even sets a maximum amount for each payment. Generally speaking, the state will consider the paying spouse’s average monthly gross income and may determine that each alimony payment should correspond to 20% of that spouse’s average monthly gross income, or a maximum of $5000 – whichever is less.
In addition, other factors may also be taken into consideration. The court may look at whether the receiving spouse currently makes any money and how much; the amount of money that spouse needs to care for the basic needs of the children and their own, and how long it may take for that spouse to be able to generate enough income to make a living independently.
How Can a Kerrville Alimony and Maintenance Lawyer Help Me?
Unlike other states, Texas imposes a few obstacles for spouses to have their alimony request approved as a part of a divorce, making it almost imperative for that individual to seek the help of an experienced Kerrville alimony and maintenance attorney to achieve a successful outcome. An attorney may help you take the proper steps to build a strong case and collect enough evidence to convince the judge that you qualify to be receiving spousal maintenance payments.
An attorney with in-depth knowledge of Texas spousal maintenance laws can help you navigate the process of requesting spousal maintenance payments or guide you through a modification request, eliminating all the guesswork and potentially saving you time and helping you avoid costly mistakes. Several clients in the Kerrville, TX area who have found themselves facing spousal maintenance questions and issues have come to the Law Offices of S. Dylan Pearcy to get the answers and legal services they need. Attorney S. Dylan Pearcy and his legal team look forward to doing the same for you. Reach out at (830) 222-8629 to learn more.