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Factors for determining spousal maintenance

In Texas, when a couple decides to get a divorce, one person may no longer be able to provide for themselves as they either never worked during the marriage or earned significantly less than the other spouse. In these cases, that person may be able to request spousal support from the court in order to support themselves following the dissolution of the marriage.

An ex-spouse may seek spousal maintenance if, once the divorce is official, they will lack sufficient assets. This includes, for example, no place to live and no way to financially provide for themselves. In order to be eligible, the spouse who is seeking maintenance must be the main provider of the ex-couple's child that has a physical or mental disability that requires constant supervision on behalf of the parent, has a physical or mental disability themselves that does not allow them to make a living or has been married to the other person for more than 10 years and can no longer earn the needed income.

In Texas, it is the court that determines the amount, if any, of spousal support that may be awarded to one of the individuals. These factors can include the earning ability of the ex-spouse seeking the spousal maintenance, how long it will take them to learn the skills they need to earn an income and the duration of the marriage, among others.

Depending upon the specific circumstances of the case, a family law attorney may be able to help their client seek spousal maintenance and request an amount that may allow them to get back on their feet once the divorce is complete. Alternatively, if the family law attorney's client is the one whom maintenance is requested from, they may be able to provide proof that they cannot afford the maintenance or negotiate an amount that is reasonable.

Source: Family Code, "TITLE 1. THE MARRIAGE RELATIONSHIP SUBTITLE C. DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE CHAPTER 8. MAINTENANCE", August 14, 2014

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