Whether or not you will be required by the court to pay spousal support (also called maintenance) in Texas upon divorce depends upon a variety of wide-ranging factors. If, however, there is a court order requiring you to pay spousal support, it is your legal obligation to do so.
If your financial circumstances have changed significantly since your spousal support payments were ordered, you may be able to obtain a spousal support modification, but your obligation to pay remains intact until you do so. In other words, it’s complicated, and you need an experienced Fort Worth spousal support attorney on your side.
A Bridge Toward Self-Sufficiency
In Texas, community property is divided equitably – or fairly given the involved circumstances – upon divorce. As such, neither spouse is penalized for their non-financial contributions, such as staying home and taking care of the children and house (rather than working outside the home). This is why spousal support in the state is fairly limited and is intended to act as a financial bridge toward self-sufficiency for the recipient.
This means that if your spouse faces a financial downturn upon divorce and you have the financial means to help offset it, the court may order spousal maintenance that can help buy your ex the time he or she needs to become financially independent, but this financial assistance will not be without limitations.
Guidelines Regarding the Duration of Spousal Support
In Texas, spousal support is intended to help your ex find his or her financial footing, and the state has guidelines in place regarding its duration, including:
- Spousal support generally won’t play a role if you were married fewer than 10 years. An exception, however, is if you were convicted of – or received deferred adjudication for – a family violence charge within two years of filing for divorce (or while your divorce was pending).
- If you were married for more than 10 years but for fewer than 20, spousal support is limited to a maximum of 5 years.
- If you were married for more than 20 years but for fewer than 30, spousal support is limited to a maximum of 7 years.
- If you were married for 30 years or more, spousal support is limited to a maximum of 10 years.
An exception to these maximums is if your ex-spouse has a mental or physical disability (or cares for a child with a disability) that prevents him or her from supporting himself or herself financially.
Some of the most basic factors that go into the determination of whether spousal support is appropriate and, if so, its duration include:
- Your ex’s education, job training, and overall earning capacity
- Your ex’s mental and physical health
- The amount of time it would take for your ex to get the education and/or training necessary to become financially independent
Reach out to an Experienced Fort Worth Spousal Support Attorney Today
If you have concerns related to spousal support, the practiced Fort Worth spousal support attorneys at The Law Office of J. Kevin Clark have the experience, legal insight, and drive you are looking for. To learn more about how we can help you, please don’t hesitate tocontact us online or call us at 817-348-6723 today.