Customarily, the estranged wife will seek spousal maintenance, also referred to as Alimony or Spousal Support. Alimony is what the Court determines to be a fair payment to the secondary earner in the marriage.
When is Spousal Maintenance Awarded?
Spousal support is determined based on the individual circumstance surrounding your divorce. Generally, the Court considers four avenues an estranged spouse can claim spousal support:
- One, both parties agree on spousal maintenance payments for a specific duration of time.
- Two, if a spouse is a sponsored immigrant, they may enforce an Affidavit of Support executed by the breadwinner spouse. It is a request that the Court order the sponsor to provide the immigrant spouse 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines until the immigrant spouse is either naturalized or has earned forty credits of work history.
- Three, the bread-winning spouse has accepted deferred adjudication or was convicted for a family violence offense against the other spouse or spouse’s children within two years of filing for divorce or while the divorce is pending. In this case, the duration of the marriage is irrelevant.
- Four, the marriage has sustained at least ten years, and the spouse seeking spousal maintenance lacks sufficient property or income to maintain their reasonable needs AND falls into one of the following circumstances:
- __is the primary caretaker of a disabled child
- __lacks the earning ability to provide for their essential, reasonable needs
- __is disabled
What qualifies as a spouse lacking the earning ability to provide for themselves?
The Court examines relevant factors regarding the spouse’s ability to provide, including:
- the time needed to obtain training or education sufficient to earn adequate income
- the feasibility and availability of training &/or education
- the current education and employment skills
- financial resources available to each spouse upon the division of assets by the Court
Unless an Affidavit of Support is enforced, the spouse seeking support will need to demonstrate diligence to find gainful employment, training, &/or education. The Court will make the judgment based on the above factors and any additional factors the Court deems relevant.
Duration of Spousal Maintenance Payments
It is up to the Court’s discretion how long the spousal maintenance should remain effective if the spouse being granted support is caring for a disabled child or is unable to earn sufficient income to cover basic needs because of a disability. Aside from those two exceptions, the Court determines spousal maintenance duration as follows:
- If the petitioned marriage lasted 30+ years, the spousal maintenance may not remain in effect longer than ten years.
- If the petitioned marriage lasted for at least 20 years but less than 30, then spousal maintenance may not remain in effect for more than seven years.
- If a spouse was granted spousal maintenance because of deferred adjudication or conviction of the other spouse for a family violence offense, as stated in the previous section, OR the marriage lasted for at least ten years but less than twenty, the spousal maintenance award may not exceed five years in duration.
Additional Spousal Maintenance Specifics
Texas does not have a formula, per se, to determine to spousal maintenance granted. Usually, the Court will order the spouse responsible for spousal maintenance more than the lesser of 20% of their gross monthly income or $5K. Additionally, these spousal maintenance payments are taxable deductions for the person paying and taxable income for the person receiving.
AZ Law Firm Divorce Lawyer Austin Team
Whether you are fighting for spousal support or defending against obligatory maintenance, you need expert legal representation. Both establishing and defending against claims presents difficult and unique challenges. We have an accomplished divorce lawyer Austin team to skillful fight for you. So, worry not, give us a call today & we’ll jump to your defense.
To find out how we can help you, contact an Divorce Lawyer Austin at 512-400-7070 or send us a message. We will schedule an initial client consultation to review your case details and lay out a game plan for your divorce in Texas. AZ Law Firm will pursue the legal action necessary to secure the fairest possible divorce for you and your loved ones.
- evaluating and explaining to you the pros and cons of your individual case
- discussing with you any available options and our proposed strategies as it relates to your case
- providing guidance and recommendations regarding any proposed settlement offer
- quickly and effectively communicating with you during each step of the process so that you are not left in the dark
- taking your case solely on a contingent fee basis
- and aggressively protecting and defending your rights
We understand times are tough and that there probably hasn’t been a tougher time in your life. Although we could get away with charging exuberant amounts, we prefer not to as we are a law firm by the people, for the people. We do not want you to worry about whether you can afford to hire an attorney to protect and defend your rights. Call us and be surprised at the quality you receive compared to what other law firms will quote you!
Accordingly, the attorneys at AZ Law Firm will always provide you with a free initial consultation. During this initial consultation, one of our divorce lawyer Austin team will evaluate your case, inform you of any legal options that may be available, and allow you to ask any questions that you may have. AZ Law Firm offers affordable rates for all our clients and will work with you on payment plans. Our firm accepts checks, debit cards, and most major credit cards to cover the costs of your legal representation.