Bexar County Spousal Support Lawyers

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Bexar County Spousal Support Lawyers

Spousal Support in Bexar County

In Bexar County, spousal support can be classified into three distinct categories: temporary spousal support, spousal maintenance, and alimony. Each type serves a strategic purpose. Temporary spousal support may be granted during the divorce process. Spousal maintenance pertains to post-divorce financial assistance, and in Texas, eligibility for such support is subject to stringent legal requirements. If a spouse qualifies for spousal maintenance, nonpayment by the other spouse can be enforced through wage garnishment and imprisonment.

Conversely, alimony is a voluntary contractual arrangement between spouses that is not legally mandated and cannot be enforced through income withholding or jail time. While alimony can be advantageous, enforcing it can be challenging if the financially secure spouse refuses to comply with the agreement.

Temporary Spousal Support in Bexar County

In Bexar County, each spouse has a legal obligation to support the other, known as spousal support. As part of this duty, the court may issue temporary orders requiring spousal support payments during the divorce proceedings. In Texas, the person seeking temporary spousal support must not contest the marriage’s validity. Temporary spousal support in Bexar County aims to address the basic expenses of the petitioner’s spouse until a final decree is issued. The amount of temporary spousal support is determined by (1) the petitioner’s inability to meet their necessities during the proceedings, and (2) the other spouse’s ability to pay. In re Fuentes.

When determining whether to grant temporary spousal support, the court must consider evidence of each spouse’s income, assets, and existing liabilities, as well as factors affecting their earning potential, such as health, age, and education. Temporary spousal support terminates upon the issuance of a final decree. Payments made during the divorce process and a spouse’s failure to comply with temporary spousal support orders may be considered by the court when determining the final equitable division of property between the spouses.

In Bexar County, a spouse may be eligible for temporary spousal support but not spousal maintenance, as the eligibility criteria for each differ. It is crucial, from a strategic perspective, to be aware that a spouse may attempt to prolong the divorce process to continue receiving favorable support payments that would not be available after the divorce. In such cases, the court may consider disproportionate spousal support payments as property awarded to the responsible party during the final property division. Hudson v. Hudson.

If you are considering divorce, you should contact us.
Soyars & Morgan Law, P.C. has years of experience dealing with
family law issues in Bexar County.

Bexar County Spousal Maintenance

In Bexar County, spousal maintenance and temporary spousal support are not interchangeable. As mentioned earlier, temporary spousal support in Bexar County is intended to cover a spouse’s necessary expenses during the divorce proceedings. Spousal maintenance is a financial award granted to one spouse after a divorce, consisting of periodic payments from the potential income of the other spouse to support that spouse.

Determining Qualifications for Spousal Support in Bexar County

In Bexar County, the prerequisites for spousal maintenance are considerably more stringent than those for temporary spousal support. The court may mandate one spouse to pay spousal maintenance if the other spouse will not have adequate property, including their separate property, following the divorce AND one of the following conditions is met:

Family Violence. A spouse from whom maintenance is sought has been convicted or granted deferred adjudication for a family violence offense committed during the marriage against the other spouse or the other spouse’s child. The offense must have occurred (a) within 2 years before the filing of the divorce suit or (b) while the divorce was pending, or…

The spouse seeking support must meet one of the following criteria:

    1. Need-Based. Married for at least ten years and unable to generate enough income to satisfy the spouse’s minimum reasonable requirements.
    2. Spousal Disability. Incapacitated by a physical or mental disability, preventing the spouse from earning sufficient income to meet their minimum reasonable requirements; or…
    3. Child Disability. Serving as the custodian of a child of the marriage, regardless of age, who requires substantial care and personal supervision due to a physical or mental disability, which prevents the spouse from earning enough income to fulfill their minimum reasonable requirements. Texas Family Code 8.051

Eligibility for alimony is determined during the divorce, irrespective of whether the recipient will be capable of meeting their “minimum reasonable needs” in the future through additional training or education. One court ruled that a spouse seeking spousal support, who had been out of the workforce since 1974 and completed one computer course while enrolling in another, lacked the necessary skills to earn a sufficient income. See Slicker v. Slicker. Another court found that a spouse seeking support, who acquired a real estate license but needed approximately one year to establish her real estate business, did not have adequate earning capacity. See Deltuva v. Deltuva.

Why Choose Soyars & Morgan?

  • Unrestricted communication with our legal experts. Our Bexar County spousal support attorneys are dedicated to providing timely and effective responses to each client. You will maintain direct access to your devoted spousal support legal team, ensuring you receive the answers you need when you need them.
  • Candor.Honesty and transparency are crucial for cultivating trust with your attorney. We promise that you will be consistently updated about your case’s progress at every step.
  • Personalized approach. Our team recognizes that each situation is distinct. Your strategy will be crafted to align with your and your family’s objectives. Soyars & Morgan Law handles your case from beginning to end.

By retaining the services of Soyars & Morgan Law, you can rest assured that our Bexar County spousal support attorneys have the necessary expertise and credentials to handle your case effectively.

Meet Our Bexar County Spousal Support Lawyers


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Bexar County Spousal Support and Spousal Maintenance FAQ’s

What is the maximum amount of Spousal Maintenance?

Pursuant to Section 8.055 of the Texas Family Code, there is a legal cap on the amount a court can order a spouse to pay in spousal maintenance. For orders issued on or after September 1, 2011, maintenance cannot surpass the lesser of: (a) $5,000 per month or (b) 20 percent of the spouse’s average monthly income. In determining the spousal maintenance award, courts commonly consider the requesting spouse’s monthly expenses, income, and any shortfall; however, they are not required to entirely eliminate such a shortfall.

How long can I receive Spousal Maintenance?

In Bexar County, the maximum duration of spousal maintenance relies on the length of the marriage, UNLESS the spouse seeking maintenance is incapacitated or unable to work due to caring for a disabled child. Texas Family Code Section 8.054.

Maximum Duration for Spousal Maintenance

Per Texas Family Code 8.054, the court must establish the briefest feasible period that allows the spouse requesting maintenance to earn sufficient income to address their own “minimum reasonable needs.” This does not apply when the spouse’s ability is substantially or entirely diminished for one of these reasons: (a) a mental or physical impairment of the spouse seeking maintenance, (b) responsibilities as the custodian of an infant or young child of the marriage, or (c) duties as a member of the armed forces.

In cases where a spouse or child has a disability, the “shortest reasonable period” requirement is waived, and the court may order maintenance for as long as the spouse continues to meet eligibility requirements. In such a situation, it is crucial for the attorney to meticulously draft the final decree, as its wording will dictate whether the obligee may pursue ongoing maintenance under the disability-based criteria or if durations will be restricted under the family violence and need-based criteria.

Can Spousal Support be terminated?

Indeed, the duty to provide spousal support ceases upon the death of either party or when the recipient remarries. If the court determines that the recipient is cohabiting with someone in a romantic or dating relationship in a permanent residence on a continuing basis, the support obligation must be terminated, according to Texas Family Code §8.506.

Is it possible to modify Spousal Support?

Certainly, changes to spousal support orders can be made by submitting a motion to modify to the court that issued the initial order. The party requesting the modification must demonstrate a substantial and significant change in circumstances for either party, following the guidelines stated in Texas Family Code §8.506.

How can I prove a significant and substantial change in circumstances to modify Spousal Support in Bexar County?

To establish a significant and substantial change in circumstances, the party seeking the modification must present evidence of (1) the current financial status of both parties and (2) the financial conditions of the parties at the time the original support order was issued. If a party fails to provide information on the prior financial situation of the parties, the court will not have a basis for determining the substantial and significant change requirement, resulting in the denial of the modification request. It is essential to note that a modification cannot retroactively apply to payments accrued before filing the modification motion; therefore, it is crucial to submit your modification motion as soon as the circumstances necessitating the change arise.

Is it possible to enforce Spousal Support in Bexar County?

Yes, provided that spousal support orders comply with the requirements of Texas Family Code Chapter 8, enforcement can be achieved through contempt (jail) proceedings, monetary judgments, and income withholding. Spousal support orders that adhere to Texas Family Code Chapter 8 offer greater benefits than contractual alimony orders, which cannot be enforced by contempt (jail) proceedings or income withholding.

Alimony Considerations in Bexar County

Alimony refers to a contractual agreement for providing spousal support, rather than a court-ordered obligation. Consequently, alimony is less favorable than spousal maintenance in terms of enforceability since it is easier to collect spousal maintenance according to the law. If a former spouse fails to make their spousal maintenance payments, they can be held in contempt of court and subjected to imprisonment and fines. On the other hand, non-payment of alimony is considered a breach of contract claim. This difference is crucial since the aggrieved party can only obtain a monetary judgment against the defaulting party. If the defaulting party lacks sufficient assets for the aggrieved party to enforce the judgment, there is no viable method for compensating the aggrieved party. Unlike spousal maintenance, the law does not permit the enforcement of unpaid alimony through contempt of court or imprisonment.

On the other hand, if a party has adequate assets that can be seized to satisfy a monetary judgment, alimony can be an effective means of resolving divorce disputes when asset distribution, earning potential, or other factors complicate the fair division of marital assets. Alimony is often a viable option when the parties have significant assets (such as real estate) that are not easily liquidated but generate consistent income without substantial cash reserves.

When a court order incorporates an agreement for spousal maintenance or spousal support but fails to meet the legal requirements for spousal maintenance, the agreement establishes a debt enforceable as a contract. However, it DOES NOT CREATE A COURT-MANDATED OBLIGATION that can be enforced by contempt or income.

Before establishing an alimony agreement, it is crucial to consult an experienced divorce attorney in Bexar County who can structure the arrangement to protect your interests and provide guidance on avoiding potential complications in the future.