Alimony and spousal support
During a divorce, you may have to work through three major and potentially challenging elements: child custody and support, property division, and spousal support. Spousal support is based on need, the provider’s ability to pay, and any acts of violence that occurred during the marriage or during the divorce proceedings.
For many primary income earners, hearing the words alimony or spousal support is stressful. They envision servicing an ongoing debt that will prevent them from moving on. For those who quit working or did not pursue a career in favor of household maintenance and childcare, the words are equally stressful. They fear reentering the workforce and learning how to become independent once more.
The family law attorneys at Ted Smith Law Group, PLLC, help individuals on both sides of the spousal support fence. We understand that each marriage is different, and we want to ensure that our clients receive the most beneficial outcomes possible.
Determining Spousal Support Eligibility
You are eligible for spousal support payments if you do not have enough property to provide for your needs after a divorce and the paying spouse was convicted of family violence, or the accepting spouse’s earning capacity will not provide for his or her minimum needs and the accepting spouse has been married to the providing spouse for 10 years or longer, has a disability, or cares for a child with a disability.
Once the courts determine eligibility, they will determine the amount of support a spouse can receive and the timeframe for receiving the benefit. The state will look at the length of marriage, the age and earning capability of the accepting spouse, educational attainment, a history of employment, and other factors to make its determination.
Texas limits the duration of spousal support. Unless an accepting spouse is disabled or taking care of a disabled child, the maximum length of support is 10 years. To prove eligibility for support, the spouse in need should consult an attorney to help build a case.
Determining Spousal Support Payments
The paying spouse will have to pay up to $5,000 or 20% of his or her gross income per month. The lower amount is the amount a paying spouse will owe. To make a payment determination, the courts will evaluate both spouses’ financial assets, child support, education and employment history, age, contributions to the family during marriage, marital misconduct, family violence, and community property fraud during marriage.
When you are court-ordered to pay spousal support, you must pay regularly to avoid jail time and the possibility of having to pay retroactively. While you cannot actively change your income-earning level to lower spousal payments, you can ask the court for an agreement modification if you lose your job or have to accept a lower-paying job while paying for spousal support.
Creating a Contract for Spousal Support
Court-ordered spousal support is the only legally enforceable financial support a spouse can receive for himself or herself after a divorce. However, some couples choose to create an independent contract outlining the terms of support for an accepting spouse. Amicable divorcees can use contractual maintenance to qualify for certain living arrangements, to go back to school, or to improve childcare income over time.
Your Attorney for Alimony/Spousal Support in Killeen
Whether you need help navigating court-ordered spousal support or developing a working contract between you and your spouse, the attorneys at Ted Smith Law Group, PLLC are here to help you. We want you to have the best future possible after a divorce, and finding an appropriate solution for spousal support can help. Contact us today and we’ll evaluate your case for free case evaluation and give you more information about our spousal support experience.