While every Texas divorce case is different, most couples will need to address three key issues during court proceedings. Aside from asset division and matters involving minor children, the parties may face questions regarding spousal maintenance. Commonly known in other states as alimony and often perceived in a very negative light, the point behind spousal support is really a matter of fairness and doing equity between divorcing parties. Spousal maintenance levels the playing field, so both individuals can move forward to a new future on similar financial footing.
Even if you understand this basic description, dealing with spousal maintenance is much more complicated in a real-life scenario. The laws are complex and emotion may complicate the issue, so trust The Ramos Law Group, PLLC to protect your interests. Please contact our office today to set up a consultation with our spousal maintenance lawyers in The Woodlands. You can also read on for a summary and some information on how we can help with alimony.
Two Types of Spousal Maintenance in Texas: One form of spousal support involves a contractual agreement executed by the parties. A couple may have a premarital agreement that they signed before the wedding date, while some spouses might create a post-marital agreement after getting married. Even after filing for divorce, the parties can reach a compromise on how to handle spousal support as part of the proceedings. As long as the legal requirements are in place for such a contract, a divorce court is likely to approve it and enter the arrangement as part of the final divorce decree.
The second type of spousal maintenance is provided for in the Texas divorce statute, which applies when the parties cannot come to an agreement on spousal support. To obtain a court order for support, one party must file a petition requesting it, along with supporting documents and information on why spousal maintenance is necessary. The other spouse will have the opportunity to respond in writing. Ultimately, the issue will be determined by the judge after a hearing.
Determining Eligibility for Post-Divorce Spousal Maintenance: If the parties must go through a hearing regarding spousal maintenance, the court will first review whether the spouse seeking it meets the statutory requirements. The person filing the petition must prove he or she lacks the financial means to be reasonably self-sufficient, as well as one of the following:
- The marriage lasted at least 10 years and the spouse seeking support cannot support himself or herself;
- The prospective paying spouse was convicted of domestic violence within two years before filing for divorce;
- The spouse seeking support has an incapacitating disability that prevents self-sufficiency; OR,
- The spouse requesting spousal support is providing care to a disabled child.
Calculating the Amount and Duration for Spousal Maintenance: Texas has enacted statutes and implemented rules regarding spousal support, assuming the requesting party is able to prove that he or she qualifies. Our attorneys at The Ramos Law Group, PLLC can explain the details related to:
Duration of Payments: Spousal support is determined by the length of the marriage in most cases. As such, a party may receive it for:
- Up to five years, for marriages lasting 10-20 years;
- Up to seven years, when the marriage was 20-30 years in duration; and,
- Up to 10 years when the parties were married for 30 years or more.
Note that there is usually no time restriction when spousal maintenance is based upon the disability of the spouse or a child born to the marriage.
Amount of Spousal Maintenance: The amount of support depends upon the recipient’s needs and the payor spouse’s ability to pay it, which means a financial assessment is necessary. Along with the petition for spousal maintenance, the party seeking support must include information on reasonable needs and expenses. The party who may be ordered to pay support must provide details regarding income, assets, and business opportunities. There is no fixed formula for determining post-divorce maintenance, but there is a cap of $5,000 per month or 20 percent of the payor’s monthly income.
Speak to The Woodlands Spousal Maintenance Lawyers About Your Rights
Whether you are seeking spousal support or maybe paying spousal support, it is critical to retain skilled legal counsel to represent your interests. Our team at The Ramos Law Group, PLLC can advise you in negotiating an agreement, but we are prepared to go to court in a contested spousal maintenance hearing. Please contact our office today to set up a consultation with one of our attorneys. We can explain how the laws apply once we review your unique circumstances.
Our Client Testimonials
The decision to end my 25-year marriage was not an easy one, but hiring the Ramos Law Group was. From the initial consultation to the execution of the Divorce Decree everyone at the firm displayed the utmost professionalism and I was treated as if I was their only client. My attorney Lindsey, always provided precise legal guidance, was usually one step ahead of the opposing counsel, and had a superb understanding of how things would play out in the court room. Additionally, whenever my case needed a little extra horsepower, Mary provided that "surge" to keep things on track.
"Ms. Ramos and her entire staff worked with professionalism and compassion to guide me through the most difficult time of my life and to an outcome that was best for my family and myself. Ramos Law is incredible and I highly, highly recommend their services."
"I was recommended to see Mary Ramos for my on coming custody case,it was the best thing I could've done honestly.The Ramos law group was quick with emailed responses and telephone calls,informative with ANY questions I had and they also took action with what they thought would work,which it did,I had money troubles and they were still willing to help they sent me with a younger lawyer Lindsey Lewis to help save some money and she was the best!She knew what she was doing and Mary was still on my case to make sure things went smoothly and to catch any details Lindsey and I might have missed.All in all I am a very satisfied client and if I ever needed a family lawyer again I would come back.My case was won as I received primary for my daughter which is exactly what I asked for.If you're willing to listen to what they have to say and follow their guidance they're definitely worth hiring.I thought I wanted sole custody for my daughter and they explained that wasn't in the best interest for her and honestly they were right,they speak to you on a professional level and also a real level of how things are actually going to work and what could happen if you take a certain action.They definitely care about their clients and make their own bond with you,you're not just money in their pockets you turn into family. "
"I received excellent advice and representation from Ms. Lindsey Lewis. She kept me updated at every step of the process, and I never felt as if my case was set aside. I would hire The Ramos Law Group in the future. "
"I started my divorce with a lawyer who was not very responsive. My divorce case was complicated and needed more laborious scrutiny. Since the case was not moving forward I had to switch lawyers. Made the switch to Ramos Law group. Since the very first day Mary and her team have been very efficient and meticulous. Since the case was complicated the team had to go through myriads of pages in discovery. I was pleased with the legal team that helped us handle the paperwork in a very timely manner. All my questions were answered very promptly. The relay of information was easy with their software system. We finally had a law firm that we could trust. My divorce was finalized and I only have Mary and her team to thank for going through a difficult divorce. I would highly recommend the Ramos law group for their help and support for getting my life back on track. "