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How is spousal support determined in Texas?

One major dispute that some couples in Texas who are divorcing face is how much spousal support will be paid by one party to the other. This can be especially complex if one of the parties has significant assets. When it comes to spousal support, the court will decide how much support to award, how long the support will last and when the payments are to be made. There are certain factors that the court will consider when determining whether a spouse is eligible to receive support.

One factor that the court will consider is the spouses' ability to provide for their minimum reasonable needs on an independent basis when taking into consideration the resources at the time the marriage is dissolved. The court may also consider the education and employment skills of the spouses and how much time it might take to enable the spouse who is seeking maintenance to garner these skills for self-support. In addition, the court may consider how long the marriage lasted, how old the spouse who is seeking maintenance is, the earning ability and his or her condition and what the effect will be on the spouse providing the minimum necessary amount of support as well as support for children, if any.

The court may also take into account will be the acts either spouse made to destroy, conceal, fraudulently dispose of community property, or other property that was in common. Another consideration is how one spouse contributed to the education, training, and to increase earning power of the other spouse. Finally, the court will consider whether there was property brought into the marriage by either spouse, whether one spouse contributed as a homemaker, whether there was marital misconduct like cruelty or adultery and whether there is a history of family violence.

These issues can be even more significant if there is a significant number of assets that are part of the marriage. If, for example, one spouse was wealthy before the marriage and there was not a premarital agreement in place, these rules can have a major influence on how much is paid to the spouse who did not have a great deal of assets. When taking that into consideration, a high asset divorce can be difficult for both parties. With that in mind, it is imperative to have legal assistance from the start of the process to the finish.

Source: statutes.legis.state.tx.us, "Chapter 8. Maintenance -- Sec. 8.052. Factors in Determining Maintenance," accessed on Dec. 19, 2016

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Attorney Christine K. Lincoln

Christine K. Lincoln offers sound counsel and legal services to protect clients and their families facing divorce and other family disputes.

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