If you are getting divorced, one of your biggest concerns could be how you will support yourself as an individual. This can be especially true if you do not work, or your spouse was the breadwinner. However, you may be eligible for spousal maintenance.
Spousal maintenance is money that a person pays to his or her ex-spouse after the dissolution of their marriage. It is available in cases where the person seeking support meets certain criteria.
Do you lack sufficient property?
Even though Texas is a community property state, and each person typically receives half of the marital property in a divorce, one party can still be at a serious financial disadvantage after divorce. You may not collect an income; you may require training or school to get an appropriate job; you may not earn enough money to support yourself and your children. Under these and similar circumstances, you may be unable to afford living expenses and other reasonable needs, suggesting that you lack sufficient property.
Do you meet other criteria?
In addition to lacking sufficient property, a person must also demonstrate that he or she:
- Is the recent victim of family violence committed by his or her ex, or;
- Has an incapacitating mental or physical disability that affects earning potential, or;
- Cares for a child with substantial care needs, or;
- Was married for 10 or more years
While every case is unique and must be examined on its individual merits, know that these are the elements that must be in place for courts to award spousal maintenance after divorce.
Other factors to consider
Do you have a premarital agreement addressing support in the form of contractual alimony? How long will you require support? Does your ex earn enough to cover his or her needs as well as yours? These are all additional factors that can affect spousal maintenance cases in terms of award, eligibility, duration, and amount.
Again, every case and situation is different, and therefore it is wise to consult a family law attorney before making any assumptions or reaching any agreements regarding spousal maintenance.