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A spousal support primer: Understanding the basics

Are you concerned about having to pay spousal support -- or do you think you might not be receiving enough? Spousal support, also known as alimony, is often a contentious issue during divorce proceedings. A variety of spousal support options exist, so it is important to consult with attorneys to determine the right approach for you and your family.

Two primary types of spousal support are available in Texas: temporary spousal support and spousal maintenance. Temporary spousal support provides financial assistance to the non-moneyed spouse while the divorce is ongoing. This type of support is designed to help both parties maintain their current standard of living until the divorce can be finalized. This is primarily a function of need. Attorneys for both parties need to accurately assess the financial demands that are being made on each spouse, allowing for adequate support that does not abuse the system.

Spousal maintenance, on the other hand, is awarded to a spouse after the divorce has concluded. A spouse's eligibility for this type of payment largely depends on the length of the marriage, but other complex factors can enter into the equation. However, the duration and size of the spousal maintenance is limited under state law.

Recent modifications to state law now allow spousal support to be paid for up to a decade. The length of the marriage is taken into account, along with the history of domestic violence in the household. The person who is receiving the support must lack the ability to provide for minimum needs, but other factors can extend the length of the spousal maintenance.

Whether you are looking to avoid an unfairly high spousal support payment -- or you need money from your ex in order to survive -- our team of family attorneys can help. You do not have to pursue spousal support on your own. Instead, consult our experienced legal team! Our attorneys are well-informed about changes to Texas law that could improve your individual spousal support situation.

Source: Laura Dale & Associates, P.C., "Houston Lawyers Who Understand Spousal Support Statutes" Sep. 15, 2014

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