Spousal Maintenance And Alimony

For many people, figuring out how they will cope financially compounds the stress of divorce. The income that supported the entire family is now being split apart.

Some households have only one income. In those cases, a wage earner sometimes attempts to use his or her financial situation to gain an advantage in divorce negotiations in and out of court.

At the law firm of M. J. Hill & Associates, PLLC, in San Marcos, Texas, we help individuals protect their rights regarding spousal support.

Some life events may be valid reasons to modify an original alimony or maintenance agreement depending on the language included in the original agreement or order. We can review your original divorce documents, and explain the modification process and how the courts are likely to view your specific circumstances.

Call 512-212-4916 today to speak with an experienced and knowledgeable divorce lawyer.

We Have Answers About Alimony In Texas

Texas law regarding spousal support is complicated and has undergone numerous changes recently. There are generally three types of spousal maintenance:

  • Temporary support — If one partner becomes financially dependent on the other during the course of a marriage, the dependent partner may need temporary support. He or she can request the court to review temporary support matters.
  • Court-ordered spousal maintenance — In some cases, a partner may be unable to work or not have the ability to support himself or herself due to physical disabilities or other circumstances. The court will look at a variety of factors before granting this Texas version of alimony.
  • Contractual alimony — In some cases, spouses agree on a payment schedule and put it in a contract. This contract can include a multitude of household and other expenses. Agreeing to a fair contract will eliminate worry and stress for both parties.

In 2011, the Texas Legislature approved amendments to the Texas Family Code that modify the eligibility for spousal maintenance and make changes to the factors a court looks at when determining how much and for how long a person will receive spousal maintenance.

The new law allows a longer period for spousal maintenance payments. The length of time is tied to the length of the marriage. The duration of spousal maintenance is now limited to:

  • Five years (increased from three), if the spouse making the payments was convicted of domestic violence, or the couple was married for at least 10 years, but not more than 20
  • Seven years, if the couple was married for a period of between 20 and 30 years
  • Ten years, if the couple was married for more than 30 years

The requirement for "obtaining appropriate employment or developing an appropriate skill" has been removed, and duration is not tied to the "shortest reasonable period" that allows the spouse in need of maintenance "to earn sufficient income to provide for the spouse's minimum reasonable needs."

There are exceptions to the durations mentioned above, including longer durations when there is mental or physical disability involved. Our legal team will factor in your unique circumstances whenever appropriate, and advise you accordingly on the best course of action believed to serve both your immediate and your long-term interests.

Protecting Your Rights

If alimony or spousal maintenance will be a consideration in your divorce, it is important to retain the services of an experienced attorney who can advocate for an equitable arrangement based on a variety of financial and lifestyle factors. We also assist people needing alimony modifications post divorce decree.

Contact An Experienced Alimony Lawyer Today

Whether you expect to receive spousal support or you are likely to pay it, consulting with an experienced San Marcos spousal maintenance attorney is prudent to ensure that your rights are protected. Our family law attorneys can answer your questions during a consultation. Call 512-212-4916 to schedule an appointment.