Houston Spousal Support Attorney
Spousal support is not automatically granted in every divorce. In fact, in Texas, spousal support, or spousal maintenance as it is called, is presumed to be unwarranted from the outset, and it is up to the spouse seeking maintenance to prove it is justified under Texas law. Houston spousal support attorney Maria S. Lowry helps clients seeking or challenging an award of spousal maintenance present the facts supporting their position in a Texas divorce or proceeding for maintenance in Harris County and surrounding areas, including Montgomery, Liberty, Chambers, Galveston, Brazoria and Fort Bend counties.
Texas Spousal Maintenance Law
Spousal maintenance, also known as spousal support or alimony, is an amount of support paid by one former spouse to another for a period of time after divorce. The goal of spousal maintenance is to give a former spouse time to gain employment or get the necessary education or job training to become self-supporting.
Under Texas spousal maintenance law, an award of spousal maintenance is granted for the shortest time needed for the receiving spouse to become self-supporting. Courts may order spousal maintenance for up to five, seven or ten years, depending on how long the marriage lasted. Generally speaking, a maintenance award can be ordered for up to five years for a marriage that lasted up to 20 years, and maintenance can be ordered for up to 10 years after a marriage of 30 years or more in duration. Spousal maintenance cannot exceed the lesser of $5,000 per month or 20% of the average gross monthly income of the paying spouse.
Spousal maintenance may be appropriate if the receiving spouse would otherwise lack sufficient property to provide for the person’s minimum reasonable needs. Additionally, one of the following other criteria must also be present:
- The paying spouse was convicted of a domestic violence offense in the last two years before the divorce filing or after the petition was filed
- The requesting spouse is unable to earn sufficient income because of disability
- The requesting spouse is unable to earn sufficient income after a marriage of 10 years or more
- The requesting spouse is the custodial parent of child with special needs
A Texas judge considering alimony is required to evaluate nearly a dozen separate factors in deciding the proper amount, duration and payment of maintenance. These factors include:
- Each spouse’s earning capacity and financial resources
- A spouse’s education and employment skills, or the time needed to acquire them
- The length of the marriage
- The age and health of the spouse seeking maintenance
- A spouse’s ability to pay maintenance as well as child support
- How much one spouse contributed to the education, training or earning power of the other
- A spouse’s contribution to the marriage as a homemaker
- Any marital misconduct by either spouse
- Whether either spouse attempted to hide or destroy community property
How a Houston Spousal Support Lawyer can Help
Unless the parties agree on whether spousal maintenance will be paid, how much and for how long, these matters will be decided by the judge during the divorce or maintenance proceeding. Houston spousal support lawyer Maria S. Lowry helps her clients work out acceptable settlements with their divorcing spouses on issues such as spousal maintenance, child custody and the division of community property. In a contested divorce, the Law Office of Maria S. Lowry analyzes all relevant statutory factors and builds a strong case arguing for or against spousal maintenance.
Get Help with Spousal Maintenance in Your Houston Divorce
For help regarding a spousal maintenance award in your Texas divorce, contact the Law Office of Maria S. Lowry to speak with a skilled and experienced Houston spousal support attorney.