The divorce process is complex and harrowing enough even without alimony or spousal maintenance. Yet Texas spousal maintenance orders are incredibly common, either as court-mandated agreements or as a contractual arrangement in which both parties voluntarily agree to payments for a specified timeframe.
However, the Court may suspend or outright end these payments because of certain life developments, such as the termination of employment. This is similar to the modification of child support payments.
If you’ve lost your job and can no longer afford spousal support payments, read on for more information about how this can affect your alimony agreement.
Requirements of Spousal Maintenance – Understanding Minimum Reasonable Needs
While both spouses in a divorce can request spousal maintenance or child support during the divorce process, Texas will only award maintenance under certain circumstances. These include:
• The spouse from which maintenance is being requested is guilty of a family violence offense
• The spouse requesting support lacks the property or income to provide for his or her reasonable needs AND the marriage has lasted for at least 10 years
• Both parties agree to spousal maintenance – this is a contractual agreement that will last for a specified time period
The Court considers a variety of important factors when determining what qualifies as “minimum reasonable needs”. These include the education and employment skills of both spouses, the time needed to obtain education or training to enable the recipient spouse to earn enough income, the costs associated with the recipient spouse’s lifestyle, and so on.
How Long is Spousal Support Awarded to Ex-Spouses with an Incapacitating Physical or Mental Disability?
If the spouse requesting maintenance has a physical or mental disability or is the custodian of a child or infant with a disability, spousal support may continue indefinitely or as long as the conditions persist.
However, the Court may still periodically review the support order in the future. If spousal support is not awarded to a disabled spouse, maintenance does not typically last for more than five to seven years.
Can Spousal Support Change due to Job Loss?
Absolutely, but it’s not a guarantee. Job losses can reduce the paying spouse’s support obligations depending on the circumstances.
When an individual paying alimony can no longer do so because of the loss of their job, they must petition the Court to modify the existing support order. During the Court’s review, they’ll need to demonstrate that material changes in their circumstances have occurred and contributed to lower average monthly gross income.
Alimony Modification Representation
The Court will look at all available information when determining whether an alimony modification is appropriate, even if the paying spouse has lost his or her job. Because paying alimony when you’ve lost your job can strain your finances even further, you must acquire skilled legal representation to assist with your case to ensure a positive outcome.
Maynard Law Firm, PLLC can help you receive the alimony modification you need if you’ve lost your job and can no longer afford payments. We’re experts in family law and spousal maintenance in Texas.
Contact us today for a free case review and more information to benefit your situation!