Property Division Lawyer Austin, TX
Understanding Why You Need a Lawyer Trusts
Spousal support, or alimony, refers to the arrangement in which one spouse is ordered by the court to pay their partner following a divorce. Also referred to as spousal maintenance, these payments are intended to limit unfair economic effects after a marriage has ended. Depending on your situation, spousal support payments can be a vital lifeline or a crushing financial burden.
If you are facing a divorce, property division lawyer Austin, TX families depend on, Ryan Dougay, can use his years of experience to help you reach an optimal arrangement. Contact The Law Office of Ryan S. Dougay to learn how he can fight for your future.
Economic Fallouts of Divorce
Following a divorce, one partner may face considerable economic fallout. For example, an individual may have given up their profession, or forgone a career altogether, to better care for their family. While caring for family develops important skill sets, it can prove difficult to be competitive in the job market after years spent at home. Spousal maintenance, provided by the “payer spouse,” can replace or supplement the receiving spouse’s income until he or she has undergone the training or education necessary to become self-supporting.
Securing an experienced property division lawyer in Austin, TX can make all the difference to ensure your quality of life is protected.
The court may determine that spousal maintenance is required during or after the divorce proceedings. It is also important to note that spousal payments are different from property division or child support.
Spousal Support in Texas
Spousal maintenance is not automatically granted under Texas law. The court may not order a spouse to pay more than $2,500 or 20 percent of the spouse’s gross monthly income, whichever is less. Alimony in Texas is typically awarded for three years, but extensions are common in instances of longer-lasting marriages. While the court attempts to limit support to the shortest time possible, partners may receive:
- Up to five years of spousal support for a marriage of 10 years or less
- Up to seven years of spousal support for a marriage lasting 20 to 30 years
- Up to 10 years of support for 30 years of marriage or more
A notable exception to these scenarios is spelled out in the Texas Family Code, which lifts certain alimony restrictions for a disabled spouse or caretaker of a disabled child, whose earning power is often diminished.
Do You Qualify for Alimony?
Every aspect of divorce can be complex and pose its own set of difficulties. This is why a person going through a divorce should always have a seasoned Austin, TX property division lawyer representing them.
One area of divorce that can become contentious is when one spouse wants the other spouse to pay them spousal support. If the couple has a prenuptial agreement in place which already stipulates if spousal support should be paid and how much it should be, then there should not be an issue, unless one of the spouses is disputing the prenuptial agreement.
Unfortunately, many married couples do not have prenups so the request for spousal support can be a contested one. In some cases, a spouse may even contest the divorce if they will not be getting spousal support.
Many people have an outdated and incorrect notion of what spousal support is. Originally, spousal support was implemented as a way for the wives, who typically were not the breadwinners of the family, to still be supported even though the marriage had ended. At one time, it was rare that a woman would be working outside the home, especially one with children. So spousal support was very common.
Over the years, as marriages evolved and more and more women became part of the workforce, the concept of spousal support has also evolved. In many households today, both spouses usually work, so it is less common for a spouse to request spousal support in a divorce.
However, there are also still many instances where the court will still order spousal support be paid. There is one major difference, however, and that is that husbands are also requesting spousal support from wives in marriages where the wives were the primary breadwinner.
How Does the Court Determine Alimony?
There are multiple factors a judge will examine when he or she is considering the request of one spouse for spousal support. The point of spousal support is to allow the spouse to maintain the standard of living that was established during the marriage. Therefore, the court may consider:
- The length of the marriage
- The age of each spouse
- The physical and emotional health of each spouse
- The ability of the paying spouse to pay
- The skills and marketability of the requesting spouse and what the need for training or further education would be
- The extent that staying home and taking care of the children and home affected the earning capacity of the requesting spouse
- The assets and debts each spouse will have after the divorce
- Ability of the payer spouse to support his or herself, as well as the recipient
- Evidence of any domestic violence
A spousal support order may be subject to modification if the circumstances that informed the existing order change. Notably, if the income one party increases or decreases, making them better equipped to pay alimony or better able to support him or herself, then a modification will be necessary.
Duration of Alimony
How long the spousal support will last will depend on what the court orders. The court could only order temporary spousal support, which would end once the couple’s divorce is final. The court could also order rehabilitative spousal support. This type of spousal support is awarded to give the receiving spouse time to obtain more education and reestablish themselves in the workforce, usually two to three years. For couples who were married for a long time, the court could order permanent spousal support which usually lasts until the receiving spouse remarries or the paying spouse retires.
Meet with a Property Division Lawyer in Austin, TX
The issue of spousal support arises in many divorces, and the subject can be a major point of contention. Securing an experienced property division lawyer Austin, TX clients recommend like Mr. Dougay can make all the difference to ensure your quality of life is protected. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.