San Antonio Spousal Maintenance Attorneys
Experienced spousal support and divorce lawyers serving South Texas
Spousal maintenance is financial support paid by one spouse to another after a divorce. This support is never guaranteed, and the receiving spouse must meet certain eligibility requirements. Generally, however, if one person was the primary earner in the marriage, that spouse will likely be required to pay spousal maintenance. The court awards spousal support on a wide variety of factors, but two of the biggest are the amount of disparity in incomes and the length of the marriage.
The San Antonio family law attorneys at Grable Grimshaw PLLC want to guide you through the stressful and difficult parts of your divorce. We understand that matters of spousal maintenance can become contentious, even in an amicable marital split. Our experienced divorce attorneys can go over your options and protect your rights, representing you in court, mediation, or arbitration.
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"Can’t thank the team at Grable Grimshaw enough!! Thanks for the support and legal services throughout my divorce. Couldn’t ask for a better team to get me through this extremely difficult time in my life while achieving the results I needed!" – Benjamin P.
What is spousal maintenance?
Spousal maintenance is additional financial support, outside of property and asset division, that one spouse temporarily pays to the other post-divorce. This money is meant to assist the ex-spouse in finding stability after the divorce, helping pay bills and other expenses until he or she is more financially self-sufficient.
Spousal support here in Texas is typically decided on a case-by-case basis. Neither partner receives it automatically, and must meet certain conditions for eligibility.
Do I qualify for spousal maintenance?
Texas Family Code allows the courts to award one spouse maintenance if the recipient husband or wife can prove that they’re struggling to support themselves and their ex-partner has the means to pay. However, there are certain restrictions on spousal maintenance.
Dependent spouses in long-term marriages often qualify for support. Generally, when a marriage lasts for 10 years or more, the courts will consider awarding spousal maintenance. Even then, they typically award short-term support rather than permanent maintenance, so a non-working spouse can eventually re-join the workforce.
When making decisions on awarding spousal maintenance, the courts take into consideration a number of factors. Individuals seeking support must show they don’t have the financial resources to meet their needs once the divorce is final, as well as meet one or more of the following:
- They lack the ability to earn enough income to meet their basic or reasonable needs
- They cannot earn income due to physical or mental disability
- They are the caretaker of a child from the marriage with a physical or mental disability who requires full-time care beyond child support
- That the other spouse was convicted of family or domestic violence
The court may also award temporary support to one spouse during divorce proceedings if that individual can prove financial need.
The San Antonio attorneys at Grable Grimshaw can work with you to ensure that you have access to the right resources and information to make the spousal support process as streamlined as possible.
How do Texas courts calculate spousal maintenance?
There is no set formula or calculator used to determine the amount of support a spouse receives. Instead, the courts use a variety of relevant factors, including:
- The financial resources and assets available to each spouse after property division
- The education and employment skills of each partner
- The age and health of each spouse
- How long it might take for the dependent husband or wife to obtain the required training or education to earn enough income to become financially independent
- The feasibility and accessibility of this training or education
- The duration of the marriage
- Any marital misconduct on the part of either spouse
However, state law does put a cap on the amount of spousal maintenance the court can order, which is either $5,000 per month or 20 percent of the paying spouse’s monthly gross income, whichever is lower.
How long does spousal maintenance last?
According to Texas Family Code, spousal maintenance remains active only for a certain amount of time.
- If a spouse is awarded support due to their partner’s conviction of a family violence offense, spousal maintenance may not last more than five years.
- If the marriage lasted more than 10 but less than 20 years, spousal maintenance may not last more than five years.
- If the marriage lasted more than 20 but less than 30 years, spousal maintenance may not last more than seven years.
- If the marriage lasted more than 30 years, spousal maintenance may not last more than 10 years.
This is not always set in stone. The court may rule that spousal support stay in effect as long as the dependent partner is unable to earn sufficient income to be financially stable – typically due to the partner’s own disability or because they are the main caretaker to a disabled child.
What is contractual alimony?
Contractual alimony is a form of spousal support to which both parties mutually agree. This differs from spousal maintenance that’s ordered by the court. If you and your ex choose contractual alimony, you are free to agree to just about any terms of spousal maintenance. Parties can pay support above the required limits and extend payments beyond the required timeframes.
Contractual alimony means you can tailor your spousal maintenance agreement to meet the specific needs of your family. It also means you don’t have to involve the court in the process, which removes the risk of them coming to a decision that doesn’t benefit anyone. However, one disadvantage of this type of agreement is that it may limit your options of enforcement if the paying spouse fails to follow the terms of the contract. However, the attorneys at Grable Grimshaw can help you decide if this is a good option for you, and work to develop a proper and strong agreement.
Experienced San Antonio spousal maintenance attorneys
At Grable Grimshaw PLLC, we want to help make your divorce easier. Our lawyers can help you and your spouse work through the spousal support process to design a plan that meets your goals and is fair to everyone. We understand what you need to continue moving forward financially and our job is to get you there. And, if you need representation in court, we will protect your best interests. When you are ready to set up a consultation, contact our San Antonio offices by calling 210-963-5297 or filling out our contact form. We’re proud to serve clients throughout South Texas.