San Antonio Spousal Maintenance Lawyers
Texas Spousal Maintenance Attorneys You Can Rely on Through Thick & Thin
Spousal maintenance (often called alimony or spousal support) arrangements can help one party maintain a good quality of life post-divorce. Navigating a spousal maintenance dispute can also be complex, especially if the parties disagree on terms for the alimony arrangement.
At The Law Office of Derek S. Ritchie, PLLC, our experienced San Antonio spousal maintenance attorneys have the tools to help you pursue an equitable spousal maintenance arrangement with your soon-to-be-ex.
How Does Spousal Maintenance Work in TX?
In a spousal maintenance arrangement, one party (the payor) provides the other party (the recipient) with financial support, often to help them maintain a good quality of life post-divorce.
An individual can request spousal support if:
- They and their spouse both agree on the need for spousal maintenance (and negotiate an equitable amount);
- Their marriage lasted at least ten years, and they cannot provide for their reasonable needs. To demonstrate a need for spousal support, the prospective recipient must lack the property and income to support themself, and either be the caretaker of a disabled child, be disabled themself, or lack the earning ability or provide for themself;
- Their spouse was convicted of or received deferred adjudication for family violence charges within two years of filing for the divorce;
- Their spouse sponsored them as an immigrant, and the prospective recipient can enforce an Affidavit of Support.
Most commonly, courts award spousal support because one party shows they lack the property, income, or earning capability to reasonably support themself.
To determine whether this is indeed the case, courts examine various aspects of the case, including:
- The duration of the marriage;
- The health and age of each spouse;
- How the spouses treated each other (and what roles they fulfilled) during the marriage;
- The property and income possessed by each party at the time of the divorce;
- The earning potential of both spouses, and how long it would take the prospective recipient to support themself financially with additional training;
- How paying for spousal maintenance would impact the prospective payor;
- Any other factors the court considers relevant to the case.
Types of Spousal Maintenance in Texas
In Texas, spousal maintenance, commonly referred to as alimony, is not granted in every divorce case. When it is awarded, there are several types or durations of spousal maintenance available:
- Temporary Alimony: This form of alimony is typically granted during the divorce proceedings to provide financial support to the lower-earning spouse until the divorce is finalized.
- Contractual Alimony: Spouses can also agree on the terms of alimony as part of a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement, allowing for more flexibility in the duration and amount.
- Rehabilitative Alimony: This type of alimony is awarded to help the lower-earning spouse acquire the education or training necessary to become self-supporting. It is intended to be temporary and is often linked to specific milestones, such as completing a degree or job training.
- Reimbursement Alimony: Reimbursement alimony may be awarded to compensate one spouse for expenses or support they provided to the other spouse during their education or career advancement. It's not based on need but rather on reimbursement.
- Permanent Alimony: While relatively rare, in some cases, the court may order permanent alimony. This type of alimony is usually awarded in long-term marriages where one spouse cannot reasonably be expected to become self-supporting due to age, health, or other factors.
The specific type and duration of spousal maintenance in Texas depend on various factors, including the length of the marriage, the financial situation of both spouses, and their individual needs. Courts aim to ensure fairness and equity in awarding spousal maintenance, and it's often a complex matter that requires careful consideration by a family law judge.
How Much Are Spousal Maintenance Payments in TX? How Long Do They Last?
Unlike some states, Texas does not use a formula to calculate how much spousal support a payor may owe a recipient. Courts use the same factors we covered above to determine how much spousal maintenance would constitute an equitable outcome for both parties.
Similarly, the length of spousal maintenance arrangements in Texas varies. The length of the marriage plays a major factor:
- If the marriage lasted for at least 10 years but less than 20, spousal maintenance can last for up to five years;
- If the marriage lasted for at least 20 years but less than 30, spousal maintenance can last for up to seven years;
- If the marriage lasted for 30 years or more, spousal maintenance can last an indefinite amount of time (10 years or more).
Other factors, such as whether family violence played a role in the case or how long it may take the recipient to support themself financially, can also affect the length of the spousal maintenance arrangement.
At The Law Office of Derek S. Ritchie, PLLC, our San Antonio spousal maintenance lawyers will help you pursue an equitable outcome in your spousal maintenance case.