Spousal Maintenance in Texas Divorce
The Texas family code defines ?maintenance? as an award in a suit for dissolution of marriage of periodic payments from one spouse for the support of the other spouse. When the spouse seeking maintenance is first determined eligible to receive maintenance, the court next reviews a set of factors in determining the nature, amount, duration and manner of payments.
Maintenance should not be confused with temporary spousal support, which can be requested at the beginning of the case to support the spouse during the divorce. Temporary spousal support is often determined at a Temporary Orders Hearing. Listen to our podcast about Temporary Orders Hearings.
When you schedule a confidential consultation with Mark L. Scroggins at Scroggins Law Group you will learn your rights and best options regarding maintenance and support during the divorce.
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Eligibility for Maintenance in Texas
The court may order maintenance for either spouse where the spouse seeking maintenance will lack sufficient property, including the separate property of that spouse, after dissolution of marriage, for that spouse to provide for their minimum reasonable needs.
In addition, there are eligibility elements for consideration:
First, the spouse is seeking maintenance from the other who has been convicted or received a deferred adjudication for a criminal offense that is also an act of family violence. The act constituting criminal violence must have been made against the spouse requesting maintenance or their child within two years prior to the filing for divorce or during the pending divorce.
Second, the spouse seeking maintenance is unable to work and earn income to provide for their minimum reasonable needs due to an incapacitating mental or physical disability.
Third, the spouse seeking maintenance has been married to the other spouse for 10 years or longer and the requesting spouse lacks the ability to earn sufficient income to support their reasonable needs.
Fourth, the spouse seeking maintenance is the custodian caring for a child of the marriage, of any age, requiring substantial care and supervision due to a mental or physical disability that prevents the requesting spouse from being able to work to earn sufficient income to provide for their minimum reasonable needs.
Factors in Determining Maintenance
The court then uses a list of factors to determine the nature, amount, duration and manner of periodic maintenance payments.
Your divorce lawyer at Scroggins Law Group can discuss how each of these factors applies to your situation. For purposes of illustration, the factors are listed here:
- The ability of each spouse to provide for their minimum reasonable needs, on their own, considering the spouse?s financial resources at the end of the divorce;
- Each spouse?s education, employment and the time and availability for the spouse seeking maintenance to be able to require the education and training to earn sufficient income;
- The duration of the marriage;
- For the spouse seeking maintenance, their age, employment history, earning ability, as well as their physical and emotional condition;
- The effect of child support payment or maintenance, where applicable, and the effect on each spouse?s ability to provide for their reasonable minimum needs while satisfying child support or maintenance obligations;
- The acts by either spouse in excessive or abnormal expenditures or the destruction of, concealment or fraudulent disposition of community property, joint tenancy or other property held in common;
- Contributions of one spouse to the other?s education, training or increased earning ability;
- Property brought to the marriage by either spouse, otherwise referred to as separate property;
- Contributions of one spouse to the other by being a homemaker during the marriage;
- Proven marital misconduct, including adultery and cruel treatment by either spouse during the marriage; and
- Any history or pattern of family violence.
Duration and Amount of Maintenance Order
For purposes of this short article we provide an overview of the eligibility for maintenance and the factors used by the court in determining the nature, amount, duration and manner of payments.
The court making an order of maintenance follows specific provisions of the Texas Family Code regarding the duration of the order and the exact amount of maintenance to be paid, which your attorney can explain in greater detail.
Call Scroggins Law Group in Dallas with Concerns about Spousal Maintenance in a Texas Divorce.
Mark L. Scroggins is Board-Certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and works with team of experienced trial attorneys, paralegals and support staff handling all your needs and concerns. When the stakes are high, and you need tough experienced lawyers, call Scroggins Law Group in Dallas at (214) 469-3100. We serve families in Dallas, Collin and Denton Counties.