Whether you are the lesser earning spouse or spend your marriage years as the homemaker, you may naturally wonder if you will receive spousal maintenance following the dissolution of your marriage. The answer boils down to a few different factors.
Unfortunately, Texas maintains strict eligibility requirements for spousal maintenance. Per the Texas Family Code Sec. 8.051, you may receive spousal maintenance if the courts determine that you lack sufficient property or assets to provide for your reasonable needs following the dissolution of your marriage. “Sufficient assets” include your own separate property. However, in addition to meeting this most basic requirement, you must prove that your situation is unique in one of a few ways.
Spousal maintenance and family violence
The Texas courts are likely to order spousal maintenance against a spouse who has either a conviction or a deferred adjudication for a domestic violence offense on his or her record. Maintenance is almost guaranteed if the offense occurred within two years of the date you or your spouse filed for dissolution or while the suit is pending. In these situations, the courts will not consider the length of the marriage.
Spousal maintenance and extenuating circumstances
If your spouse does not have a history of domestic violence, you may still qualify for spousal maintenance if you can prove that one of three things is true. Those three things are as follows:
- You live with a mental disability or incapacitating physical condition that renders you unable to earn sufficient income to care for your reasonable needs.
- You do not have the capacity to earn sufficient income to care for your minimum reasonable needs and were married to your spouse for at least 10 years.
- You are the custodial parent of a child who lives with a physical or mental disability that makes it difficult to impossible for you to earn an income that is sufficient enough to provide for your reasonable needs.
If you believe you qualify for spousal maintenance, and if you feel you need it to move forward with your life in financial comfort, discuss your needs and circumstances with an experienced lawyer.