Going through a divorce can be overwhelming and nerve-wracking, especially if your livelihood and your child’s well-being depends on your spouse’s income. Fortunately, there are legal solutions to these problems.

While not every divorce may lead to spousal support payments, specific factors may qualify a parent to receive financial aid. A Missouri City spousal support lawyer could work with you to determine if you are eligible for this kind of financial assistance and, if so, how much. Alternatively, if you may be responsible for making these payments, our family attorneys could help fight for a fair agreement that protects your financial stability. At Angela Faye Brown & Associates, we help parents looking to protect the wellbeing of their children. If you are a parent in need of fair spousal maintenance payments, we could support you throughout these negotiations.

When Do Courts Order Alimony Payments?

If a parent cannot provide for themselves at the time of the divorce, the court may look for at least one other factor when deciding whether to award spousal support. The relevant circumstances, pursuant to Texas Family Code §8.051, include:

  • The parties were married at least ten years, and the dependent spouse cannot earn enough to meet their basic needs
  • The spouse in need of support is caring for a child who requires substantial care due to a disability, and the spouse, therefore, cannot work
  • The dependent spouse has an incapacitating mental or physical disability that prevents them from supporting themselves
  • The spouse from whom the other is seeking support committed violence against the support seeking spouse or the couple’s children within the last two years

Parents going through a divorce should consult with an experienced Missouri City attorney to learn more about whether spousal support applies in their case.

Length of Support Orders

Spousal support orders may last only for a certain period of time. The court can create orders that last for a set number of years or as long as a condition lasts. For instance, if the support is only ordered because of a disability, the order may last as long as the disability lasts.

If the parent receiving support is only collecting because they are caring for young children and unable to work, then the support may expire when the children are older. There are specific rules that also apply, such as:

  • If the court orders support for a marriage of less than ten years because of domestic violence, the maintenance will cease after five years
  • If spouses were married more than ten years and less than 20, the support lasts only five years
  • For marriages between 20 and 30 years in length, support will last seven years
  • Spousal support may only last ten years for marriages of more than 30 years.

If the spouse receiving support remarries or moves in with a romantic partner, the payments typically end regardless of the timeline. A Missouri City attorney could counsel individuals on all of the issues involved in their cases that may lead to modifications in the length of their alimony.

Spousal Maintenance Calculations

State law limits the amount of spousal support available in any case to at most twenty percent of a person’s average monthly income. Additionally, the total number cannot exceed $5,000 per month, so the payments will cap at this amount rather than twenty percent of the gross income for high-earning individuals.

The court may modify the amount of support in some circumstances, such as when the paying individual loses their income. However, a paying spouse cannot decrease payments without going through court. Failing to pay alimony could result in severe legal consequences, including liens, paying the other parties attorney fees, and jail time.

Hire a Missouri City Spousal Support Attorney

Spousal support can be a significant aspect of a parent’s finances as these orders may last for many years. If you are going through a divorce and need alimony to help you support you and your children, you should find an experienced Missouri City spousal support lawyer who could work with you to find a fair solution. To learn more about how our team could help you and your family, call today.