No doubt, spousal support, along with child custody, are often the most hotly debated items during a divorce. From a practical standpoint, spousal support attempts to prevent one spouse from leaving the marriage empty-handed, forced to fend for himself or herself in a working environment for which they are woefully unprepared. The reality of spousal support, however, is that when the subject comes up, tensions run high. Although spousal support is not dependent upon “fault” in the marriage, the conduct of the parties during the marriage may well become an issue. In fact, the issues which led to the couple’s decision to separate may be fully resurrected when spousal support is discussed.
Because of this, it is crucial that you have a highly experienced Texas divorce attorney from Landrith & Kulesz, L.L.P. by your side during your divorce. We will work hard on your behalf to focus on how spousal support payments can solve future problems, rather than concentrating on why your marriage ended, and any past wrongdoing involved. When you choose Landrith & Kulesz, L.L.P. for your divorce, you will receive highly experienced, highly skilled, and highly knowledgeable attorneys who will be on your side from beginning to end. While we are skilled negotiators, we are also aggressive litigators when the situation warrants. If you are going through a divorce, Landrith & Kulesz, L.L.P. can help.
Will the Court Order Spousal Support in Your Case?
Spousal support, also known as alimony or spousal maintenance, is generally decided by the court on an individual basis. These include:
- Temporary spousal support while the divorce is pending. This depends on the financial circumstances of the parties.
- The marriage has a duration of at least ten years, and the spouse who wants spousal support does not have sufficient income or property to provide for his or her reasonable needs, or is the primary caretaker for a disabled child. One of the spouses is disabled and does not have the necessary earning ability to provide for his or her minimum reasonable needs.
- Both spouses agree that spousal maintenance will be paid for a specific period of time.
- The proposed paying spouse has been convicted for a domestic violence offense against the other spouse or the other spouse’s child within two years of the filing of the divorce.
How long the marriage has lasted is also a factor when awarding spousal support. The health of each spouse, as well as the age of each spouse, and how the spouses treated one another during the marriage, may also be factored into an award of spousal support. The spouse who is seeking spousal support may be required to demonstrate that he or she has searched for educational opportunities, training or employment.
However, a Texas judge can order spousal support to last for as long as the receiving spouse cannot earn sufficient income to provide for his or her reasonable needs because he or she is the caretaker of a disabled child or suffers a disability himself or herself. The court will generally not require the paying spouse to pay more than whichever of these is less: twenty percent of his or her gross monthly income per month, or $5,000 per month.
What is the Length of Time Spousal Support Will be Paid?
The length of time spousal support will be ordered to be paid will depend on the circumstances under which it is awarded.
- If spousal support is awarded as a result of one spouse’s conviction for an offense related to domestic violence, it can remain in effect for no more than five years.
- For a marriage that lasted between ten and twenty years, spousal support can be paid for up to five years.
- For a marriage that lasted between twenty and thirty years, spousal support can be paid for up to seven years.
- Finally, for a marriage that lasted more than thirty years, spousal support can be paid for up to ten years.
How Will the Court Determine Whether a Spouse Lacks Earning Ability?
In order to make the determination as to whether one spouse lack sufficient earning ability to provide for his or her reasonable needs, the court will consider a variety of factors, including the following:
- The financial resources available to each spouse, once the asset division is complete;
- Each spouse’s employment skills and education;
- How long it will take for the receiving spouse to obtain the necessary education and/or training to enable the receiving spouse to earn a reasonable income, and
- How feasible such training and/or education is at this point in the individual’s life.
Spouses who have provided uncompensated work during the marriage, including raising children and homemaking, may receive spousal support, so they do not leave the marriage entirely empty-handed. In situations where one spouse stayed home for many years, taking care of the house and children, while the other earned a good living at his or her job, the spouse who stayed home could have missed out on educational and career opportunities, therefore is now at a disadvantage in the workplace.
Another similar situation would be when one spouse put the other through many years of education, so the other spouse could be a doctor, lawyer, or other professional. This would also cause the one spouse to potentially lose out on educational or career opportunities, thus making it much more difficult for him or her in the event of a divorce.
How Landrith & Kulesz, L.L.P. Can Help
If you are going through a Texas divorce, it can be extremely beneficial to have a strong family law attorney in your corner. The attorneys at Landrith & Kulesz, L.L.P. have assisted many clients going through this difficult time in their lives. We believe in negotiating for the best divorce settlement possible on your behalf. If negotiations simply are not providing you with the future you need and deserve, we will never hesitate to aggressively litigate your divorce. We fully understand that your life may feel out of control right now and will always provide the legal services you require with empathy, even as we deal with legally complex situations. Contact Landrith & Kulesz, L.L.P. today for experienced, compassionate, knowledgeable representation.