In high asset divorces, it’s not uncommon for one spouse to be financially dependent upon the other — and that makes spousal maintenance (commonly called “alimony”) an issue.
But spousal maintenance in Texas is not an automatic right. So, how do you know if you are eligible for spousal maintenance, and how do you know how much you will receive?
Support can be ordered by the court or determined by agreement
To obtain court-ordered spousal maintenance, the dependent spouse must prove that they lack the necessary income and assets to meet their minimum monthly expenses. Plus, they must prove at least one of the following factors:
- The marriage has lasted at least 10 years
- The dependent spouse made a reasonable effort to support themselves either during the marriage or while the divorce was pending
- The dependent spouse has a disability that arose during the marriage that has left them unable to be self-supporting
- The other spouse has committed some form of domestic abuse
- There is a child of the marriage whose disabilities require the dependent spouse to act as a caregiver (making it impossible to earn a living)
Even with these factors in place, the court will consider a number of other factors when making a decision about support. If awarded, the law can force the more affluent spouse to pay either $5,000 per month or 20% of their gross income (whichever is smaller).
However, couples can — and do — agree on spousal maintenance that goes beyond the limits of the court and without the above justifications. The duration and amount of spousal maintenance is often used as a bargaining chip by both parties in a high asset divorce.
When divorce is looming, leave nothing to chance
Talking with an experienced divorce attorney in anticipation of your divorce can help you prepare a financial proposal (and backups) that can ease your divorce along. Take the necessary steps today to protect your future.