Tag Archives: alimony

After How Many Years of Marriage May Courts Order Spousal Support for Divorcing Couples?

“How many years do you need to be married before courts will order alimony in a divorce?” 

It’s a common question that many people ask, especially when they face the end of a long-term marriage. The truth is that when a marriage ends, the assets that formerly supported one household must now be divided to support two. This can leave many divorcees worried that things might not add up. 

Questions about alimony—otherwise known as spousal support or spousal maintenance—often arise as a way to address apparent inequities.

Texas Spousal Maintenance Law

In Texas, courts can order spousal maintenance during the dissolution of marriage or in a separate legal proceeding specifically seeking maintenance. Courts may order spousal maintenance when two requirements are met. The first is that the spouse seeking maintenance will lack sufficient property after the divorce to meet that spouse’s “minimum reasonable needs.”

The second requirement can be one of a few different things (like domestic violence in specific situations, or that the receiving spouse takes care of the couple’s child with a physical or mental disability). The second requirement can also be that the spouse seeking maintenance has been married to the other spouse for 10 years or longerand lacks the ability to earn sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs.

So, generally and without other important circumstances involved, a person must be married 10 years or longer before courts will order spousal maintenance in a Texas divorce.

Spousal Support for Divorcing Couples | Texas Alimony | Schneider Law Firm, P.C.
817-799-7125 – Without other important circumstances involved, a person must be married 10 years or longer before courts will order spousal maintenance in a Texas divorce.

A Longer Marriage Can Mean That Payments Continue for a Longer Time

What’s more, the length of the marriage is a factor that courts consider when they decide how much spousal maintenance to order and how long the payments should continue. The law specifically outlines that, unless the spouse’s ability to earn an income is otherwise limited:

  • Payments cannot continue for more than five years if the marriage was shorter than 10 years
  • Payments cannot continue for more than five years if the marriage was between 10 and 20
  • Payments cannot continue for more than seven years if the marriage was between 20 and 30
  • Payments cannot continue for more than 10 years if the marriage was 30 years or more

Talk With an Attorney About Spousal Support

Of course, the law is very detailed, and a blog post can’t tell you everything you need to know in your case. The only way to get answers that apply specifically to your situation is to talk with a lawyer. If you’d like help sorting out legal issues related to spousal support and divorce, start by calling the Arlington office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., at 817-799-7125 . Consultations with our attorneys are confidential.

Spousal Maintenance in Texas Divorces

Divorcing spouses often worry how they will make ends meet. They know the income that once supported one household must now be divided to support two, and they’re unsure what impact that will have on their finances. 

At the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., we usually talk with our divorce clients in detail about their financial situations to make sure their interests are protected. Part of that conversation is talking about spousal maintenance (which our clients often refer to as “alimony” or “spousal support”).

Texas Courts May Order Spousal Maintenance in Some Cases

In our state, Texas Family Code Section 8.051 says that Texas courts may order spousal maintenance for the spouse seeking maintenance if that spouse will lack sufficient property to provide for their minimum reasonable needs when the marriage ends. The spouse seeking maintenance must meet additional criteria, including:

  • Having an incapacitating mental or physical disability: Medical records are often required to prove the existence of the disability if it’s disputed.
  • Having been married for 10 or more years and now lacking the ability to earn sufficient income: This often applies to housewives who have spent more than a decade at home taking care of the children and running the household.
  • Being the custodian of a child of the marriage who requires significant care because of mental or physical disability: The child can be any age, from just born to a grown adult. Like with an adult’s disability, medical records are often required to prove the disability if it’s disputed.

In some cases, courts can order a spouse to pay spousal maintenance when that spouse has been convicted of a crime that constitutes domestic violence against their spouse or children. Several different crimes constitute domestic violence, including sexual assault.

Spousal Maintenance in Texas Divorces | Schneider Law Firm, P.C.
817-799-7125 – Divorcing spouses often worry about how they will make ends meet. Here’s what you need to know about Texas spousal maintenance law.

“Minimum Reasonable Needs:” What Does That Mean?

The law says that a person is eligible for spousal maintenance when they lack property to provide for their “minimum reasonable needs.” But, what does that mean? There is no set amount. Instead, minimum reasonable needs are determined on a case-by-case basis. What may be reasonable for one person is different for another. In many cases, attorneys can guide their clients through putting together a reasonable budget based on their history and their predicted needs after a divorce.

How Is the Spousal Maintenance Amount Determined?

The amount of spousal maintenance that someone pays or receives is determined on a case-by-case basis. While you might be tempted to compare yourself to a couple you know or read about in the news, it’s best to talk with a lawyer directly about your own situation.

If courts order spousal maintenance after divorce, you should know that there is a cap on the monthly payment. A spouse will pay no more than the lesser of $5,000 or 20% of their average monthly gross income. This is different from child support, which courts calculate based on net income.

There are tax implications, too. Spousal support is paid from post-tax money. So, the spouse who receives it does not have to pay tax on it. This can have huge tax implications.

Talk With an Attorney About Spousal Maintenance

Because spousal maintenance is determined on a case-by-case basis, it’s best to talk with a lawyer about your own situation. Start by calling the Arlington office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., at 817-799-7125. Consultations with our attorneys are confidential.

Sources: 

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/FA/htm/FA.8.htm https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/FA/htm/FA.71.htm#71.004

4 Things You Should Know About the Texas Divorce Process

Most people who divorce have never done it before and didn’t expect to ever go through it. They have no idea what to expect. If you are considering a divorce or have been served with divorce papers, here are some basics you should know from the lawyers at the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., in Ft. Worth.

1. There Must Be Grounds for Divorce in Texas

Texas isn’t a “no-fault” divorce state. That means that in order to get a divorce in Texas, there must be a reason (“grounds for divorce”). The reason can include things like adultery, abandonment or conviction of a felony. Most divorces cite “insupportability” as the reason, which means that the marriage cannot continue due to conflicting personalities.

2. Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce

Divorces come in two types: contested and uncontested. Many people think that they have an uncontested divorce because they generally get along with their spouses. However, the definition is stricter. To have an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse must agree on every issue in the divorce. Otherwise, you have a contested divorce. Sometimes, divorces that start as uncontested divorces end as contested ones.

4 Things You Should Know About the Texas Divorce Process

3. You’ll Need to Resolve Four Major issues

Each divorce is different, and not all divorces involve children. Generally speaking, though, there are four major issues to consider in a Texas divorce:

  • Child custody: Texas courts divide child custody into conservatorship and possession/access. Conservatorship is the ability to make major decisions about the child’s life. Possession/access is where the child lives.
  • Property division: There are two types of property in Texas: community property and separate property. Community property is things you and your spouse have collected during the marriage – like your savings accounts and real estate. Your debts are also considered. Community property is usually split 50/50.
  • Child support: Courts order child support according to a series of Texas Child Support Guidelines that consider several factors.
  • Alimony: Courts can sometimes order alimony for a limited time when the receiving spouse is not able to earn enough income.

4. You Only Get One Chance to Do Your Divorce Right

It may sound harsh, but you only get one chance to decide the major issues of your divorce and make sure your interests are protected. It is possible to appeal a divorce in some cases, but it’s much easier to do things right the first time.
Talk with an attorney before making big decisions. Start by taking steps to get as much information as possible. Call the Arlington office of Schneider Law Firm, P.C., at 817-755-1852.