Dallas Alimony Lawyer
The stress of ending a marriage is often compounded by financial concerns. In some instances, the household income is split in two; in others, a spouse who was able to focus on raising children and running a household during the marriage is now faced with meeting the full array of living expenses.
House Bill 901, which passed in 2011, modified the eligibility for spousal maintenance and made changes to the factors a court looks at when determining how much and for how long someone will receive spousal maintenance after divorce.
Before the bill passed, Texas laws were restrictive in terms of spousal maintenance. In order to qualify, a couple had to be married for more than 10 years and the maximum payment allowed was capped at $2,500 a month. These payments were limited to three years.
House Bill 901 amended the section dealing with termination of maintenance. Now, if the spouse receiving payments cohabitates with someone whom he or she “has a dating or romantic relationship” with, the court can terminate maintenance.
Spousal Support Agreement
The new law provides potentially increased relief to spouses who have been out of the workforce, are disabled, are victims of family violence or are the primary custodians of a disabled child.
However, there is now a “rebuttable presumption” that spousal maintenance is unnecessary. To rebut the presumption, the spouse seeking maintenance must lack sufficient property, including the spouse’s separate property, to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs.
The maximum amount of spousal support that courts may award increased from $2,500 to $5,000 per month, although it continues to be limited to 20 percent of the payer’s average gross monthly income.
The duration of spousal support extended from a maximum of three years to a maximum of five, seven or 10 years, generally depending on the length of the marriage. If you are seeking spousal support, it is important to show the court that you have a plan in place for becoming employable. We help our clients present that plan to the court.
Whether you are the spouse requesting support or will be the one responsible for providing it, it is important to consult with a skilled divorce lawyer who will provide you with the legal advice needed to make important decisions on your financial future.
Dallas Alimony Lawyer
Although the terms “alimony” and “spousal support” are often used interchangeably, in Texas, alimony is actually distinctly different from spousal maintenance. Alimony is not court-ordered; it is a contract that is agreed upon between the two parties. Alimony is a useful tool during divorce settlement when negotiating marital property division.
If you are unable to reach agreement regarding alimony during negotiations, the court will hear arguments and testimony by both parties and will make a determination on the applicability of the laws surrounding spousal maintenance.
It is critical to work with an experienced family law attorney from the outset who will protect your rights regarding spousal support or alimony. At the law firm of Lisa E. McKnight, P.C., in Dallas, Texas, we have more than two decades of experience providing legal counsel on the full scope of family law issues.
Attorney McKnight offers an affordable 30-minute phone consultation in which she will answer your questions and recommend the best course of action. Call 214-528-4191 or use our contact form to schedule an appointment.