When a couple enters a marriage, they typically commingle their assets. In many cases, one party may serve as the primary earner while the other cares for the home and any children that the couple may have.
This arrangement can work well during a marriage, but the financially dependent spouse could end up in a difficult situation if the couple divorces. Courts understand that some may struggle financially after a divorce. Spousal maintenance is the court’s way of protecting these individuals.
Not every divorce will result in maintenance payments. It is crucial for couples who are divorcing to know their rights and obligations regarding these types of payments. Fortunately, a West Lake Hills spousal support lawyer can explain these rights and obligations in a particular case. Our family attorneys can help negotiate the terms of an alimony agreement or represent a party’s interests before the court.
How Long Do Spousal Support Payments Last?
One of the main factors that determines whether a spouse will pay or receive spousal support is the length of the marriage. If a marriage lasted less than ten years, support is unlikely absent an incapacitating disability or a family violence conviction. In a marriage that lasts ten to twenty years, the court may order support payments for up to five years.
Marriages of twenty to 30 years can result in no more than seven years of spousal maintenance. In marriages that lasted longer than 30 years, the court may order no more than ten years of spousal maintenance.
Of course, even in long-term marriages, courts only award spousal support if one party requires such assistance. If both parties earn a reasonable income, the courts may not order any support, even if the marriage lasted over ten years. A West Lake Hills attorney will counsel individuals on the likely spousal support arrangements in their case.
When Alimony Payments Last Longer than Ten Years
Certain scenarios can lead to spousal support payments that last indefinitely. One such case could be if the dependant spouse is disabled. In those cases, the support can last as long as the spouse continues to qualify for that support.
Another case where payments may continue past ten years is when the dependant spouse cares for a disabled child from the marriage. These payments are a separate consideration from child support, and may continue even if the child is an adult. The concept behind such support is that caring for a disabled child, even if that child reaches adulthood, may prevent the dependant spouse from obtaining adequate employment and income.
The paying spouse’s obligation lasts as long as the caregiver parent remains eligible. A West Lake Hills attorney could explain the implications of such situations on spousal support payments.
Domestic Violence and Alimony
While most spousal maintenance only applies in marriages of more than ten years, there is an exception. If the spouse who owes alimony was found to abuse their ex-spouse, courts may order this person to make support payments.
In these cases, the payments should not last longer than five years. The idea of spousal support in such scenarios is to provide for an individual for a set amount of time while that person receives any help they need and works to become self-sufficient.
Speak with a West Lake Hills Spousal Support Attorney
Spousal support payments can significantly impact your finances. Courts can award a dependant spouse up to twenty percent of the other spouse’s income with a cap at $5,000 a month.
Working out the alimony amount could be a vital aspect of a divorce case for both parties. A West Lake Hills spousal support lawyer could protect your interests throughout litigation or negotiations.