Handling All Issues Related to Spousal Maintenance in Texas Divorces
A court may award spousal maintenance if the spouse seeking maintenance will lack sufficient property, including separate property, on dissolution of the marriage to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs. The spouse seeking maintenance must also meet one of the following criteria:
- be incapacitated because of a physical or mental disability;
- have been married for 10 years or longer; or
- is the custodian of a child of the marriage of any age who requires substantial care and person supervision because of a physical or mental disability that prevents the spouse from earning sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs.
There are caps on the amount of spousal maintenance a court can order. Currently, spousal maintenance is capped at the lesser of $5,000 a month or 20 percent of the paying spouse’s average monthly gross income. There is also a cap on the duration of spousal maintenance. If you’ve been married for 10 years but less than 20 years, the court can order maintenance for five years. If you’ve been married for 20 years but less than 30 years, the court can order maintenance for seven years. If you’ve been married for 30 years or longer, the court can order maintenance for ten years. The court also has a lot of discretion in terms of the duration and amount of spousal maintenance they will grant to a party.
Spousal maintenance can be terminated. For example, spousal maintenance will terminate when the spouse receiving maintenance remarries or cohabits with another person. The court can also modify the spousal maintenance amount on request of a paying spouse who properly shows a material and substantial change in circumstances.
When resolving divorce issues through negotiation or collaborative law, there may be times when the higher income spouse may agree to provide something called “contractual alimony” to the other spouse. This may be done for tax reasons or in exchange for more flexibility on another issue. A court cannot order contractual alimony unless the spouses agree to the terms.
Our lawyers will comprehensively evaluate your situation and see if you qualify for spousal maintenance. We will then pursue a settlement or court decision that incorporates this as part of the outcome.
Taking a New Direction
Call our Texas law offices directly to schedule a consultation or e-mail us with a brief description of your situation and concerns related to your divorce and spousal maintenance needs. Our lawyers accept all major credit cards and offer flexible appointment scheduling for your convenience.