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Texas Spousal Support: What You Should Know

The Law Firm of Andrea M. Kolski
Spousal support

Spousal support, also known as alimony or spousal maintenance, is money paid by one spouse to the other in the event of a divorce. In the state of Texas, spousal support is not always ordered by the court, but it can be depending on the situation. A family lawyer can help you understand spousal support laws in Texas and help you plead your case.

If you are facing a divorce, here’s what you should know about Texas spousal support.

  • Spousal support is additional money not included in the marital assets. Spousal support is money paid by one spouse to the other after the marital assets have been divided. There may be a specific timeframe for spousal support to be paid before the situation will be reassessed.
  • Spousal support is ordered by the court. The court will decide whether or not spousal support will be paid as part of the divorce proceedings. One party or the other can make a plea for spousal support and the judge will rule one way or the other.
  • Contractual alimony is agreed upon between the spouses in a divorce. In some cases the spouses in a divorce can decide on contractual alimony. This may be a part of divorce negotiations and mediation outside of court. Contractual alimony may benefit both parties, as the payer and payee have a say in the matter.
  • Temporary spousal support can be paid before the divorce is finalized. In some cases one spouse may pay support to the other before the divorce proceedings take place. This is called temporary spousal support and it does not guarantee that spousal support will be ordered by the court in the divorce.
  • Spousal support is usually paid by the spouse with the higher income. If one spouse has significantly higher income than the other, they will likely be the one who is required to pay spousal support, if it is ordered by the court at all. Earning potential is also taken into consideration as well as current income. One spouse may not have worked in the past, but has the education and resources necessary to earn a liveable wage in the future. In this case there may be no spousal support required.
  • Spousal support can change if the recipient’s financial situation changes. The amount of spousal support may change or be canceled altogether if the financial situation of the recipient improves. For example, if the recipient gets remarried and their total household income increases, spousal support may be reduced or stopped.
  • Spousal support can be difficult to get in Texas for a variety of reasons. If you are seeking spousal support, the state of Texas does not make it easy. Texas is a community property state, meaning all of the marital assets are divided equally between the two spouses. This puts both parties on relatively equal ground immediately following the divorce proceedings. Texas also wants to discourage either spouse from using spousal support as a reason to avoid seeking gainful employment.

    Since 2011, eligibility for spousal support depends on the spouse’s ability to prove that after divorce (meaning after the division of assets and liabilities) there will not be enough property (including that spouse’s separate property) to meet his or her minimum reasonable needs (which usually means the spouse’s monthly expenses), and also one of the following:
  1. 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
  2. the other spouse has committed family violence; or
  3. the requesting spouse has an incapacitating disability that arose during marriage; or
  4. 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.

  • Spousal support is different from child support. Spousal support is a totally separate item from child support. One spouse may be ordered to pay child support to the parent who has primary custody of the child. Child support may also be ordered if one parent lacks the necessary income to meet the child’s needs.

Have Questions About Spousal Support? Contact the Law Offices of Andrea M. Kolski

Divorce can be quite a financial burden on one or both spouses. Whether you wish to seek spousal support or you feel you are being ordered to pay spousal support unfairly, the Law Offices of Andrea M. Kolski can help. We are a family law firm that represents our clients in divorce proceedings and family court cases. We are ready to fight for your rights both in and out of court.

Call 832-381-3430 or contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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