texas spousal maintenance

Oct
02

Need to Know About Spousal Maintenance Laws in Texas?

Texas spousal maintenance can be a useful and effective tool in a divorce. A spouse lacking sufficient property or the means to provide for his/her minimum reasonable needs, may have awarded additional funds from the other spouse during the divorce and after to help rebuild his/her life following their divorce.

In September of 2011, the Texas Legislature revised and modified the requirements for spousal maintenance including the limits on amounts and duration of time allowed.

The eligibility requirements of the Texas spousal maintenance law is still considered one of the more restrictive spousal maintenance laws in the U.S.

To be able to be awarded Spousal Maintenance (statutory term for spousal support or alimony) you must be married and the spouse seeking support must lack sufficient property to provide for the spouse’s “minimum reasonable needs”. Also one of the following is required:

  1. The recipient must be unable to earn sufficient income to provide for his or her minimum reasonable needs because of an incapacitating mental or physical disability.

  2. The marriage lasted for 10 years or longer and the recipient lacks the ability to earn sufficient income to provide for his or her minimum reasonable needs.

  3. The recipient 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 provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs.

  4. The person ordered to pay support was convicted of or received deferred jurisdiction for an act of family violence during the pendency of the suit or within two years of the date the suit was filed.

The Maximum Amount of spousal maintenance the courts may award is $5,000 per month, although it is still limited to 20 percent of the Payer’s average Gross Monthly Income.

   The Maximum Duration of Time for spousal maintenance is:

  • Five years if the marriage is 10 years or less and the eligibility for spousal maintenance is established by an act that constitutes family violence.

  • Five years if the length of marriage is at least 10 years but no more than 20 years.

  • Seven years if the marriage length was at least 20 years but no more than 30 years.

  • Ten years if the marriage length lasted 30 years or longer.

In cases where the spousal maintenance is awarded due to the mental or physical disability of the spouse or a child of the marriage, the court may order the maintenance continue as long as the disability continues.

The spousal maintenance awarded by the court is discretionary and may not always eliminate the shortfall of the requesting spouse’s monthly expenses.

What about Termination of Spousal Maintenance? The obligation to pay future maintenance terminates on the death of either party or on the remarriage of the spouse receiving the maintenance.

If the court finds that the receiving spouse cohabits with another person and is in a dating or romantic relationship in a permanent place of abode on a continuing basis, the court shall order the termination of the maintenance obligation.

Termination of the maintenance obligation does not terminate the obligation to pay any maintenance that accrued before the date of termination and this amount will have to be paid or a judgment will be enforced by the court.

If you are thinking about a divorce in Texas and have questions concerning your eligibility for spousal maintenance contact a legal professional to help you through this process.

 

By Nacol Law Firm | Spousal Support
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What About Texas Spousal Support Laws ?

In September 1, 2011, Texas House Bill 901 ( Texas HB 901 ) revised the spousal maintenance law in the Texas Family Code effective for divorce cases filed on or after September 1, 2011. The bill revised the conditions that establish eligibility for spousal maintenance, commonly referred to as alimony, and changes the factors required to be considered by a court in determining the nature, amount, duration, and manner of periodic payments for a spouse who is eligible to receive maintenance.

Eligibility for spousal maintenance still requires that the spouse seeking maintenance lacks sufficient property to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs.

The law provides potentially increased relief to spouses who have been out of the work force, are disabled, are victims of family violence or are the primary custodians of a disabled child.

Some of the major items in the Texas Spousal Support Law are:

1. The maximum amount of spousal support that courts may award increased from $2,500 to $5,000.00 per month, although it is still limited to 20 percent of the payer’s average gross monthly income.

2. The duration of spousal support in Texas is a maximum of 5, 7 or 10 years, generally depending on the length of the marriage.

3. The law clarifies if a person has primary care for a disabled child, the custodial parent may be prevented because of the child’s disability from earning sufficient income to meet the custodial parent’s minimum reasonable needs.

4. The law also clarifies a person may not be held in contempt for failing to pay spousal support which is in an agreed order and extends beyond the period of time provided under the law.

In order to receive “maintenance,” (which is the statutory term for spousal support), the spouse seeking support must lack sufficient property to provide for the spouse’s “minimum reasonable needs”, AND one of the following:

(1) The recipient must be unable to earn sufficient income to provide for his or her minimum reasonable needs because of an incapacitating mental or physical disability;

(2) The marriage lasted for 10 years or longer and the recipient lacks the ability to earn sufficient income to provide for his or her minimum reasonable needs;

(3) The recipient 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 provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs; OR

(4) The person ordered to pay support was convicted of or received deferred jurisdiction for an act of family violence during the pendency of the suit or within two years of the date the suit is filed.

The court can order maintenance to continue for:

(1) 5 years if the parties were married less than 10 years and the maintenance is awarded due to family violence;

(2) 5 years if the parties were married more than 10 years, but less than 20 years.

(3) 7 years if the parties were married more than 20 years, but less than 30 years;

(4) 10 years if the parties were married for more than 30 years.

In cases where the maintenance is awarded due to the mental or physical disability of the spouse or a child of the marriage, the court may order that the maintenance continue as long as the disability continues.

However, in all circumstances, the law provides that the Court shall order maintenance for the shortest reasonable period that allows the recipient to earn sufficient income to meet his or her reasonable needs.

What about Termination?

a. The obligation to pay future maintenance terminates on the death of either party or on the remarriage of the oblige.

b. After a hearing, the court shall order the termination of the maintenance obligation if the court finds that the obligee cohabits with another person with whom the obligee has a dating or romantic relationship in a permanent place of abode on a continuing basis.

c. Termination of the maintenance obligation does not terminate the obligation to pay any maintenance that accrued before the date of termination, whether as a result of death or remarriage

If you are contemplating dissolving your marriage and have questions concerning your financial future, seek competent legal counsel to help you determine whether you could be eligible for spousal support the provisions of the law.

 

By Nacol Law Firm | Spousal Support
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New Texas Laws Affecting Families – In Effect Beginning Sept. 1, 2013

Texas House Bill 845: Standard Possession Order

Amends Family Code provisions relating to standard Texas court orders for possession of a child in suits affecting the parent-child relationship. The bill specifies that written notice for purposes of such possession may now be provided by e-mail or facsimile. The bill provides additional alternative beginning and ending possession times under the standard possession schedule for Mother’s Day weekend and for Thursdays and weekends during the regular school term. The bill also repeals provisions relating to a petition by a conservator for additional periods of possession of or access to a child after the conclusion of the conservator’s military deployment.

Texas House Bill 847: Spousal Maintenance

Amends the Family Code to specify that the agreement for payment of maintenance that is enforceable by contempt is an agreement for periodic payments of Texas spousal maintenance and to prohibit the enforcement by contempt of any provision of an agreed order for maintenance exceeding the amount of periodic support a court could have ordered. The bill authorizes a court to order income withholding in a proceeding in which there is a court-approved agreement for periodic payments of spousal maintenance voluntarily entered into between the parties but prohibits such an order to the extent that any provision of the order exceeds the amount of periodic support the court could have ordered or for any period of maintenance beyond the period the court could have ordered. The bill also specifies that a division of property and any contractual provisions under the terms of a court-approved agreement incident to divorce or annulment are enforceable in the same manner as a division of property provided for in a decree of divorce or annulment. The bill updates relevant enforcement provisions to reflect this inclusion.

Texas House Bill 3017: VA Disability Benefits and Net Resources

Amends Family Code provisions relating to the calculation of net resources for the purpose of determining child support liability. The bill includes U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs disability benefits, other than non-service-connected disability pension benefits, among the types of income considered resources. The bill authorizes a court, in determining whether an obligor is intentionally unemployed or underemployed, to consider evidence that the obligor is a veteran who is seeking or has been awarded either veteran disability benefits or non-service-connected disability pension benefits. The bill also updates language regarding the wage and salary presumption used in the absence of evidence of a party’s resources.

Texas House Bill 847: Enforcement of a Child Support Order by Contempt

Amends Family Code provisions relating to motions to enforce a final order in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship. The bill establishes that a court, in hearing such a motion, is not precluded from awarding court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees to the movant upon finding that the respondent is not in contempt with regard to the underlying order. The bill repeals a provision prohibiting the court from finding a respondent in contempt for failure to pay child support under certain conditions and a provision authorizing the court to award the petitioner court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees in a Texas child support enforcement hearing under certain conditions.

Texas Senate Bill 129: Venue for a Protective Order Application:

Amends the Texas Family Code to expand the venue for filing an application for a protective order against family violence to include any county in which the family violence is alleged to have occurred.

By Nacol Law Firm | UPDATE! New Texas Laws
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Please contact father’s rights Dallas Attorney Mark Nacol, or father’s rights Dallas Attorney Julian Nacol with the Nacol Law Firm P.C., for legal insight to your rights as a father. Both attorney Mark Nacol, and attorney Julian Nacol , provide counsel in the area of family law including divorce, father’s rights, interstate jurisdiction, child support, child custody, visitation, paternity, parent alienation, modifications, property division, asset division and more. Attorney Mark A. Nacol is board certified in Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Our attorneys at The Nacol Law Firm P.C. serve clients throughout Texas, including Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Grayson, Kaufman, Rockwall and Tarrant counties and the communities of Addison, Allen, Arlington, Carrollton, Dallas, Fort Worth, Frisco, Garland, Grapevine, Highland Park, McKinney, Mesquite, Plano, Prosper, Richardson, Rowlett and University Park, Murphy,Wylie, Lewisville, Flower Mound, Irving, along with surrounding DFW areas.

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