Secure the Top Spousal Maintenance Lawyer in Austin and Navigate Alimony with Confidence
Alimony can be a lifeline or a crushing burden. The stakes are high, whether you’re seeking financial security or facing unfair demands. You need a lawyer who understands the nuances of Texas spousal support laws – and fights tirelessly for your best outcome.
Spousal support is an award in a divorce suit of periodic payments from the future income of one spouse for the support of the other. A court may order either spouse to pay, depending on the incomes of both parties. If you are considering a divorce or are already in the process, you should speak to an experienced alimony lawyer. Your attorney will advocate whether you expect to recover support or make payments.
At the Law Office of Ben Carrasco, PLLC, our practice is focused on Texas family law matters, including spousal maintenance, the term the State of Texas uses for alimony. As a Texas board-certified family law specialist, Ben Carrasco has the expertise and knowledge to fight for his client’s best interests during divorce, including spousal support awards.
The Role of an Austin Spousal Support Lawyer
An experienced alimony lawyer advocates for their clients in matters of spousal support, whether they are the payor or the recipient.
Those facing complex divorces and concerns about spousal maintenance in Austin can seek immediate assistance from specialized law offices, like the Law Office of Ben Carrasco, PLLC, an Austin divorce attorney.
But what do Austin divorce lawyers, such as an alimony lawyer, do exactly?
A lawyer specializing in family law offers legal guidance during a divorce proceeding. This helps clients understand the complexities of spousal support laws, including the eligibility requirements and available types of spousal support.
During divorce cases, an experienced spousal support attorney like Ben Carrasco can fight for your best interests and explain the purpose of alimony and the eligibility criteria. Ben can guide you through the divorce process and the types of spousal support recognized under Texas law.
Beyond providing legal guidance, alimony lawyers also serve as advocates and representatives for their clients during negotiations and court proceedings. They present evidence and arguments to secure favorable outcomes in spousal support matters.
During negotiations, alimony lawyers advocate for terms that align with their client’s financial rights and needs. They also present evidence and arguments to ensure a positive outcome for their clients in court proceedings.
Understanding Alimony in Austin, Texas
Alimony, or spousal maintenance (as it’s referred to in Texas family code) is a critical financial consideration during divorce proceedings. According to Texas state law, spousal support is an award in a divorce suit of periodic payments from the future income of one former spouse for the support of the requesting spouse.
The court determines if one spouse should pay alimony, depending on the incomes of both parties.
This financial aid aims to:
- Preserve the standard of living that the lower-earning spouse was accustomed to during the marriage
- Cushion the economic impact of divorce by offering the required support
- Facilitate a smooth transition into post-divorce life for the lower-earning spouse
Eligibility for Alimony
So, who qualifies for alimony in Texas? While there’s no one answer, certain criteria are considered by the court. For example, if the marriage lasted at least 10 years and the spouse seeking support lacks property or income to meet their reasonable needs, they may be eligible for alimony.
Eligibility for spousal maintenance can also hinge on other circumstances. Some factors that may qualify a spouse for spousal maintenance include:
- If one spouse has a physical or mental disability or is the primary caretaker of a disabled child, which impacts their ability to earn sufficient income
- If the other spouse has committed family violence or domestic violence within two years before the divorce or during the divorce procedure
- If an immigrant spouse requests court-ordered support until they become a U.S. citizen or earn 40 work credits
In certain situations, a court may award spousal maintenance to provide financial support through spousal maintenance payments after a divorce.
If you are considering a divorce or are already in the process, you should speak to experienced Austin alimony attorney Ben Carrasco, who can advocate on your behalf.
Types of Spousal Support in Texas
In Texas, the spousal support laws are multifaceted, encompassing three primary types: temporary spousal support, contractual alimony, and court-ordered spousal maintenance. Each category has its unique features and purpose.
In some cases, ‘spousal support’ refers to voluntary agreements, while ‘spousal maintenance’ describes payments that are court-ordered and enforceable by a court order. For a better understanding of these types, here is a look at each:
Temporary Spousal Support
Picture this: you’re going through a divorce, and the proceedings are taking longer than anticipated. One spouse is financially dependent on the other and struggles to meet living expenses and other essential needs. This is where temporary spousal support can help.
The purpose of temporary spousal support is to provide financial assistance to a spouse who may not have independent financial means during the legal process. A court may grant this temporary financial refuge during a divorce case if it’s clear that one spouse requires financial support from the other spouse.
Contractual alimony is a voluntary agreement between spouses, separate from court orders. Contractual alimony allows couples to tailor an agreement to their specific needs without being confined by the stipulations of court rules.
With contractual alimony, you’re no longer at the mercy of a judge’s gavel. It offers the advantage of avoiding court involvement, potentially saving time, money, and the risk of unfavorable court decisions. While these agreements cannot be enforced through contempt in court for non-payment, they are legally binding contracts that can be upheld through civil actions.
Court-Ordered Spousal Maintenance
This type of support is awarded when one spouse cannot provide for their minimum reasonable needs post-divorce due to lack of property.
The duration of these payments from the other spouse can last up to 10 years, depending on various factors, like the length of the marriage. There’s a cap on the amount that can be ordered by the court, with the maximum being either $5,000 or 20% of the paying spouse’s gross monthly income, whichever is lesser.
How Do Courts Calculate Spousal Maintenance?
The duration of alimony payments is dependent on the length of the marriage. Courts do not order permanent spousal maintenance payments, as spousal maintenance is intended to be of limited duration. For example, if the marriage was 30 years, the payments may last at most ten years. In shorter marriages, the payments may last five or seven years.
The court determines the maximum duration of a maintenance order by the shortest reasonable period, allowing the spouse seeking support to earn sufficient income to provide for their minimum reasonable needs. The maximum duration of spousal support is five years if the spouses were married to each other for at least 10 years but not more than 20 years.
The maximum monthly spousal support allowed under the Texas Family Code is $5,000 per month or 20% of the paying spouse’s average monthly gross income, whichever figure is lower. An Austin alimony attorney like Ben Carrasco can review a client’s divorce case and determine how much spousal support they may be entitled to receive or order to pay.
When Is Spousal Support Applicable?
Not every marriage will involve spousal maintenance payments. The court may only grant alimony if the one spouse seeking maintenance will lack sufficient property on dissolution of the marriage to provide for their minimum reasonable needs. Additionally, at least one of the following circumstances must apply:
- The spouse seeking maintenance has been married to the other party for at least 10 years and cannot earn sufficient income to provide for their minimum reasonable needs; or
- The spouse seeking maintenance is unable to earn sufficient income to provide for their minimum reasonable needs because of an incapacitating physical or mental disability; or
- The spouse seeking maintenance is the custodian of a child of the marriage of any age who requires substantial care and personal supervision because of a physical or mental disability that prevents the spouse from earning sufficient income to provide for their minimum reasonable needs.
Other individual circumstances can impact the decision to order support, including if the paying spouse carried out acts of domestic violence or family violence within the two years before divorce. An alimony attorney like Ben Carrasco can evaluate the specific facts in a divorce case and determine if one spouse may be eligible for spousal support.
Additional Alimony Considerations
During a divorce, the judge might enter a temporary support order before the court makes permanent decisions regarding support payments. These payments could help the receiving spouse until the proceedings are complete.
A court may also permit the paying spouse to cease payments before the period of support ends. This can happen when the receiving spouse moves in with a new romantic partner, for example.
For spousal maintenance payments, the court takes into account several factors such as:
- Income disparity
- Future earning potential
- The standard of living maintained during the marriage
These factors are not just numbers on paper but reflect the real-life circumstances of the divorcing spouses. From each spouse’s separate property and financial resources to their ability to support themselves independently after the divorce, all factors play a role in the court’s evaluation for spousal maintenance eligibility.
Alimony Modifications and Termination
Alterations in life circumstances may demand revisions in alimony payments. Major life changes, remarriage, or cohabitation can justify alimony modifications and termination.
Sometimes, the circumstances that led to the initial alimony agreement may also change.
Changes in income, health issues, or job loss may warrant a modification in alimony payments.
To modify alimony in Texas, an Austin alimony lawyer will take the following steps:
- File a motion with the county clerk.
- Attend a court hearing to present evidence.
- Provide advocacy by presenting evidence of substantial changes impacting the financial circumstances of their client to request a modification of maintenance orders.
There are also circumstances where spousal maintenance may need to be terminated. Spousal maintenance terminates automatically upon the death of either spouse or upon the remarriage of the recipient.
Alimony payments can be terminated if the receiving spouse cohabitates with a romantic partner in a marriage-like relationship for six months or more, regardless of the length of the marriage. In such cases, the paying spouse must file a motion and present evidence of permanent cohabitation to seek termination.
Why You Should Contact Spousal Maintenance Lawyer Ben Carrasco
Alimony isn’t just about money – it’s about rebuilding your life with confidence. Whether you need to secure fair support or prevent unreasonable demands, let’s create a strategy for financial stability long after your divorce is final.”
Alimony outcomes have a lasting impact on your life. Don’t settle for cookie-cutter advice or lawyers who avoid the courtroom. Ben Carrasco fights tirelessly for your best possible financial future. Get the aggressive yet compassionate representation you deserve – contact us now.
Ben will handle your case at every step of the process. Every alimony case is unique, and your goals matter. Ben Carrasco takes the time to truly understand your situation and tailor a strategy that puts you first. Your financial peace of mind is his priority. Start protecting your future with a consultation.
Finally, Ben will be clear about the strengths and weaknesses of your case and will always make time to talk to you. Contact Ben Carrasco today to schedule your consultation.