Ending a marriage can cause significant financial hardship for a spouse who has been out of the workforce for some time, who is already in retirement years or makes less than their soon-to-be ex. The state of Texas does allow for spousal maintenance to be included in the divorce settlement, which can help one’s financial position. However, certain conditions must be met for a judge to approve a maintenance request.
Who is eligible?
Unless a couple comes to agreeable terms on spousal maintenance, the individual wanting it will need to file the appropriate motion for the court to decide if it is warranted. To be eligible one of the following conditions must be met. Condition one is the paying spouse must have received deferred adjudication or been convicted of domestic abuse in the past two years or while the divorce is in process. Condition two is the spouse requesting maintenance must show financial need, disability or that the marriage length was 10 or more years.
How much can one get, and for how long?
Current laws allow for up to $5,000 a month or 20% of the payer’s average income — whichever is less. How long a person receives spousal maintenance depends on need, marriage length and if the payee is the primary caregiver to a child with disabilities. Support can be ordered for up to 10 years. In very select cases, the court may grant it indefinitely.
Worth asking for
Spousal maintenance is certainly worth asking for. It may be something one can successfully negotiate into the settlement agreement. If not, legal counsel can help one determine if the individual meets Texas requirements to receive it and help fight for it.