Will Your Divorce Involve Spousal Support?
In Texas, court-ordered spousal support is known as maintenance and is not automatically awarded. This means that if you are seeking post-divorce spousal support, you will need show the court that you require support despite your best efforts to obtain income or to develop marketable skills through education or training.
How Maintenance is Determined
Once determining that spousal support (aka maintenance) is necessary, then the court must decide exactly how much support is necessary and the duration of the support. This is a very complex analysis based on a long list of statutory factors. The attorneys at Travers & Travers can explain how these factors apply to your situation and how they may affect your support determination. These factors include such items as:
- The spouse’s ability to provide for his or her minimum reasonable needs
- The spouse’s education level and employment skills
- The length of the marriage
- The spouse’s age, earning ability, and physical/emotional condition
Other factors for the court to consider include one spouse’s contributions to the other spouse’s education, whether a spouse attempted to conceal or wasted community property, whether one spouse brought property the marriage, and whether there was marital misconduct or domestic violence.
Our attorneys understand how essential it is to create the strongest possible arguments for your situation. If you may require support or if you may be obligated to pay support, the attorneys at Travers and Travers have decades of experience working with these issues developing the evidence necessary to support your arguments.
Spousal Maintenance Is Limited In Duration
The Texas statutes set strict time limits on how long spousal support may be ordered. For the receiving spouse, it is essential to understand these limitations and obtain the education or training you need to provide for you reasonable needs after the divorce.
For spousal maintenance orders or divorces finalized on or after January 1, 2019, the 2017 tax reforms will likely eliminate the tax deduction for the spouse paying maintenance and the requirement of the receiver to report these payments as income. Both spouses should each consult a financial professional to assess the best outcome under the old and new law for that spouse’s individual situation.
An alternative to spousal maintenance is contractual alimony where one spouse agrees in a legally binding contract to provide post-divorce support for the other spouse. Contractual alimony is defined within the Internal Revenue Code and can be placed into effect only if the parties agree to its terms. The courts in Texas can and will approve divorce settlement terms that include contractual alimony provisions.
For contractual alimony agreements or divorces finalized on or after January 1, 2019, the 2017 tax reforms will likely eliminate the tax deduction for the spouse paying contractual alimony and the requirement of the receiver to report these payments as income. Both spouses should each consult a financial professional to assess the best outcome under the old and new law for that spouse’s individual situation.