An Experienced Family Law
Attorney Working For You

What does the court consider when ordering spousal support?

On Behalf of | Jun 13, 2024 | Spousal Support |

In any Texas divorce, spousal support – also referred to as maintenance – has the potential to be a topic for dispute. This is particularly true for people who have been fortunate enough to accrue significant assets. While people might have a basic understanding of how support is determined, it is imperative that they know the facts. This can be a protective measure from the perspective of the paying party and the person who is asking to receive the payments.

For high asset couples who are preparing for divorce, it is not uncommon for one person to have earned the bulk of the income during the marriage while the other earned less or functioned as a homemaker. In these instances, maintenance will be a primary concern for the person who was out of the job market, might not have marketable skills and training to maintain the lifestyle they had while they were married. Knowing the factors that are considered when maintenance is decided upon is key.

How is maintenance determined?

The court will need to know various information when making its determination as to how much maintenance will be paid. First, it will assess the parties’ ability to meet their minimum needs on their own. To do that, it will look at the finances from the marriage and when they chose to divorce.

For people with substantial assets, this can appear simple, but that is not always the case. Perhaps the primary earner is a business owner who has loans that must be repaid and is limited in their financial flexibility. The other person could need a vast amount to keep up their lifestyle. This can be a problematic part of the case.

The court will also need to know about the education, training and skills of each party. Those who were out of the workforce for an extended period or might have put training and education on hold after the marriage will need time to become acclimated to the current job market. Maintenance is expected to help them through this time.

The duration of the marriage will be assessed. A longer marriage in which the couple is older could warrant a very different determination than a marriage of younger people who were only married for a short time.

For many people who have achieved great success and have major assets, they did not do it on their own. Even if the other person did not work in a business or help the earning spouse to achieve a professional degree, they might have contributed in other ways that need to be addressed as part of the maintenance decision.

Finally, marital misconduct could play a role in the alimony determination. It is unfortunate that in some marriages, there were allegations of infidelity and outright abuse. This could be weighed when the support amount is calculated and the person who committed these acts could be penalized for it.

Spousal maintenance can be a difficult part of a divorce

As people in the Lone Star State think about moving on from an unhappy or unsatisfying marriage, finances are inevitably going to come to the forefront. When it is a high asset case, the amount of maintenance that will be paid in the support order can be a topic for intense disagreement.

It is wise to understand how the amount is determined and to do everything possible to show why a specific amount and duration is fair. For these issues in a family law case, it is vital to be prepared and know how to present the case to try and reach a reasonable resolution.