If a court has determined that you have met the burden of proof for needing spousal maintenance, the next step is determining for what period of time you may be eligible to receive spousal maintenance. The Texas Family Code previously stated that a party could only receive spousal maintenance for a maximum of three years. The Code was recently amended and now states that a person is eligible to receive spousal maintenance for the maximum of:

  1. Five years if the parties were married less than ten years and the maintenance is awarded due to family violence;
  2. Five years if the parties were married more than ten years but less than twenty years;
  3. Seven years if the parties were married more than twenty years, but less than thirty years;
  4. Ten years if the parties were married for more than thirty years

The judge will take your specific circumstances into account when deciding whether to award spousal maintenance and how long to award spousal maintenance. The underlying idea of spousal maintenance is to help a divorced party get back on their feet in the wake of a divorce, not to permanently provide a source of income for a party.

If you believe you are eligible for spousal maintenance, please call to schedule a consultation with an experienced Houston Divorce Lawyer at (713) 225-6200 or visit us on the web at RamosFamilyLaw.com.

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Legal Cost Control – 5 Tips for a Lower Cost Divorce

1. Think before you call or email

Your family law attorney is there to guide you through the process of a divorce or family law dispute and understands that you are going to have questions about the process. But every communication with your attorney will result in being billed, so save your small questions for a weekly status email with your attorney. This does not mean you should avoid communicating important information to your attorney, just think twice before you send off a quick email asking for information that could be found elsewhere or saved for another time for the benefit of legal cost control. Making efficient use of your lawyer’s time will earn you a lower cost divorce.

2. Be an active participant in your own case

Family law cases require the production of lots of information. This can include financial documents, photographs, timelines of events, etc. Don’t make the attorney feel as if they are pulling teeth trying to get this information from you. Being proactive by providing your attorney with copies of any documents, photographs or other items you believe may be pertinent to your case is an effective form of legal cost control. If there is an update or an incident occurs that could have an impact on your case, let your attorney know.

3. A therapist is cheaper than your attorney

Going through a divorce or a child custody dispute can be an emotional rollercoaster and your attorney understands the pain you may be going through. Family law attorneys are there to defend your case to the best of their ability, not to be a sounding board for your issues. A good family law attorney will always be supportive and often will lend an ear to your troubles, but you must understand you are being billed for their time. Turn to your friends or families if you want to vent about your ex for a lower cost divorce.

4. Respond to requests from your attorney in a timely fashion

Many aspects of your family law case, such as discovery, are time-sensitive in nature. If your attorney sends you a document and tells you it needs to be notarized or sends discovery requests and gives you a deadline it is very important you respond quickly. Your lack of response can cause the attorney to make multiple attempts to contact you, all of which are being billed to you. Take charge of your legal cost control by being responsive with your attorney whenever possible.

5. Make the paralegals your friends.

You’re entitled to speak to your attorney about issues relevant to your case, but paralegals are often just as informed about your case and can provide the same amount of information that your attorney can but for a lower billable rate for an overall lower cost divorce.

If you would like to schedule a consultation with an experienced Houston Divorce Lawyer, please contact us online or give us a call at (713) 352-3427.

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