Alimony is not spousal maintenance
as it is not court ordered. It is instead created by contract as a written agreement between spouses. Spouses may enter in a written agreement concerning the division of the property and the liabilities of the spouses and maintenance of either spouse.
Traditional alimony agreements constitute a promise to pay money to balance the property division, without regard to the spouse’s ability to be self-supporting. Contractual alimony may be subject to a writ of withholding if the contract permits income withholding or if payments are not timely made.
Temporary Spousal Support
While a suit for dissolution of marriage is pending, and on the motion of a party, or on the court’s own motion, after notice and hearing, the court may render an appropriate order, including the granting of a temporary injunction for the preservation of property and protection of the parties as deemed necessary and equitable, which may include an order directing one or both parties to make payments for the support of either spouse.
Temporary support should be awarded based on considerations of both the degree to which the applicant is destitute of means to pay for his or her necessities during the pendency of the suit, and the ability of the requested spouse to pay. Either spouse may move for temporary orders, either in their petition for divorce, or in a separately filed motion, requesting temporary spousal support. The purpose of temporary spousal maintenance is to protect the welfare of a financially dependent spouse or to maintain the status quo of the family until the final hearing in the divorce.
There must be sufficient evidence presented by the requesting spouse to support the award that the requesting spouse lacks the means and the requested spouse had the ability to pay.
What is Spousal Maintenance?
Spousal Maintenance is a recurring payment from one spouse to the other spouse to assist the receiving spouse in paying living expenses. The court may order maintenance if the spouse seeking maintenance will lack sufficient property, on dissolution of the marriage, to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs. If the spouse from whom maintenance is sought was convicted of or received deferred adjudication for a criminal offense that constitutes an act of family violence within 2 years of the date of filing of the petition, spousal maintenance may be awarded by the Court. If a spouse seeking maintenance is unable to earn sufficient income to provide for that spouse’s minimum reasonable needs because of an incapacitating physical or mental disability OR is the custodian of a child OF THE MARRIAGE of any age who requires substantial care and personal supervision because of a physical or mental disability that prevents the spouse from earning sufficient income to mean the spouse’ minimum reasonable needs, spousal maintenance may be awarded.
In order to be entitled to post divorce spousal maintenance, it must be properly pled. You have to ask for it. Spousal maintenance is not warranted unless the spouse seeking maintenance has exercised diligence in (1) earning sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs; or (2) developing the necessary skills to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs during a period of separation and during the time the suit for dissolution of marriage is pending.
WHAT AM I ENTITLED TO? WHAT AM I REQUIRED TO PAY? AND FOR HOW LONG?
The amount of spousal maintenance can be agreed upon by the spouses or determined by court order. If left to the court to decide, the presiding judge can consider a litany of factors. Consult one of our attorneys to see how our attorneys can help you in your spousal maintenance case.
Texas has determined that spousal maintenance cannot last longer than 10 years unless the receiving spouse is disabled — or is caring for a disabled child. In general, five years is the maximum duration for marriages lasting less than 20 years; seven years is the maximum duration for marriages lasting between 20 and 30 years; and 10 years is the maximum duration for marriages lasting more than 30 years.
An order for spousal maintenance is subject to periodic review and the receiving spouse has the burden to establish they have continued incapacitating physical disability and their disability prevented them from earning sufficient income to provide for their minimum reasonable needs. Even if the spouse has been found to be permanently disabled, the trial court has discretion to deny continued spousal maintenance.
Find out if you’re eligible for spousal maintenance. Schedule a case consultation today.
Work With Board-Certified Family Attorneys
If you are going through a divorce in Frisco, Plano or Dallas, Scroggins Law Group can help you through the process. With more than 25 years of family law experience and advocacy that has resulted in a 10.0 rating by Avvo and inclusion in the Super Lawyers list for the last 6 years in a row, we have the credentials you should look for when retaining counsel for this type of matter.
To learn the specifics about your spousal maintenance case, call our Collin County divorce attorneys at 214-469-3100.
*Mark L. Scroggins is *board-certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Unless otherwise noted, other attorneys are not *board-certified.
**Super Lawyers (a Thomson Reuters service, awarded to Mark Scroggins 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019)
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