Understand Texas spousal support laws for divorce

You may have worked for several decades to build a successful business in Texas and a strong financial portfolio. You and your family may have become accustomed to a certain lifestyle. Now that you have decided to file for a divorce, you might be concerned about the possible implications that decision may have on your finances, especially regarding spousal support.

There are key issues to keep in mind regarding Texas spousal support laws, which vary from laws in other states in several ways. One of the most significant factors that makes Texas laws unique is that there is a cap on the amount of spousal support a person can receive in a divorce. No matter how much income your ex earns, financial supplements awarded to you through spousal support can never exceed $5,000 per month or 20% of the payor’s income, whichever is less.

Texas is a community property state in divorce

Another fact that makes Texas unique from most other states regarding divorce laws is that it governs property division under community property guidelines. This means that the family court judge who is issuing your divorce decree will divide all marital assets equally between you and your ex.

The idea behind the cap on spousal support is that community property laws even out finances between spouses, even when one spouse earns a substantially higher amount of income than the other.

Contractual alimony versus court-ordered spousal support

When you file for a divorce in a Texas court, you and your spouse can draft the terms for your own spousal support agreement, which you can then submit to the court for approval. This is far more common throughout the state than court-ordered alimony.

Both types of spousal support are legally enforceable, although the way the court handles one is different from the other. If you are receiving contractual spousal support, and your ex quits sending payments, you can file a lawsuit, and the court can execute financial remedies. On the other hand, if your ex fails to pay court-ordered alimony, the judge in charge can hold him or her in contempt of court.

Making sure you receive a fair settlement

Especially if you sacrificed a career and post-secondary education to stay home full time and raise your family, a divorce can place you in a difficult position, financially. If you have been out of the workforce for years or will need to obtain an updated certification or additional skills or education to secure employment, you might need financial assistance to do so.

Even if you and your spouse have both worked outside the home during marriage or cooperated in running a family business, you have the right to a settlement that enables you to make ends meet and allows you to continue raising your children in the lifestyle to which they are accustomed. If you have questions about Texas spousal support laws or other divorce issues, it is best to speak with someone who can provide answers before you head to court for property division or custody proceedings.