Supporting yourself and your children after divorce can be a difficult task, especially if you were dependent on your ex’s income. However, obtaining these necessary payments can be a difficult task if your ex does not agree that spousal maintenance is appropriate. In these situations, you should contact a Houston spousal support lawyer to help you convince the court that you need financial help to support your children.

A qualified attorney with experience fighting for alimony could work with you to collect relevant evidence, build a compelling argument, and prove conclusively that it is in your child’s best interests to receive financial help.

What Determines the Value and Duration of Spousal Maintenance?

A person seeking spousal support must convince the court overseeing their case that they have made significant good-faith efforts to develop occupational skills and earn enough income to independently meet their basic needs and those of their children, but have been unable to do so, in accordance with Texas Family Code §8.053. Assistance from a Houston attorney can be especially crucial during this opening stage of alimony proceedings.

If the court agrees that a spousal support award would be justified, they may consider various factors when determining how much support a parent should receive and how long they should receive payments for. As per TX Fam. Code §8.052, these factors include:

  • Each spouse’s earning capacity based on age, education, previous experience, and physical/emotional condition
  • What contributions either spouse made to the household as “homemaker”
  • Any contributions either spouse made to the other’s education or career
  • History of domestic abuse, marital misconduct, or destruction of community property by either spouse
  • Child support obligations
  • The length of the marriage

If the justification for spousal support is a physical or mental disability, duties as a custodial parent, or a likewise compelling reason, a court may order spousal support to be paid until the condition question no longer exists. Otherwise, TX Fam. Code §8.054 only allows maintenance orders to last five to ten years depending on how long the two parties to a divorce were married. TX Fam. Code §8.055 caps the maximum value of support payments at the lesser of $5,000 or 20 percent of the payor’s average gross income per month.

Seeking a Modification of a Spousal Support Order

According to TX Fam. Code §8.056, spousal support obligations automatically terminate if either party passes away, or if the recipient marries someone else or cohabitates with another person while in an intimate relationship with them. Outside of those situations, alimony obligations remain in effect and legally enforceable until either the established date of expiration or upon periodic review by a court.

Anyone who wishes to seek a modification of a maintenance order before its termination date must file a court motion and prove in a subsequent hearing that a “material and substantial change in circumstances” has made the old order untenable, as per TX Fam. Code §8.057. Representation from a seasoned lawyer in Houston can be beneficial when pursuing a modification of spousal support.

Seek Help from a Houston Spousal Support Attorney

Given the uncommonly harsh restrictions on alimony established by state law, pursuing spousal support during a divorce is far from a simple matter. Without guidance from an experienced legal professional, your odds of convincing a court that your circumstances warrant financial support from your co-parent will likely be extremely slim.

A Houston spousal support lawyer could answer questions and apprise you of whether you may have a valid case for alimony during a confidential consultation. Call today to schedule yours.