Spousal support

6 Questions to Ask Before Going into Spousal Support Negotiations

When a couple divorces, many negotiations are made in order to ensure the divorce decree is fair and just for both parties. One of the most heavily discussed issues in negotiations is spousal support. From the legal perspective of the process to how support is calculated, the attorneys at Nilsson Legal Group have answered several questions on the topic for our clients.

Some of the most important questions are some that we think a client should understand before entering into a negotiation. Here are answers to six of the most asked questions about spousal support.

How Long Does Spousal Maintenance Last?

The courts are what determines how long one spouse makes payments to their ex in order to help maintain their quality of life. In Texas, spousal maintenance, or what people typically refer to as “alimony” is usually paid anywhere from one to seven years, depending on the length of the marriage and the circumstances surrounding the divorce (i.e. fault).

In some cases spousal maintenance can last until one party passes away, however, it will most likely end once the receiving spouse remarries.

Does the Husband Always Have to Pay?

Although the main belief behind spousal support is that the husband always has to pay the wife, this aspect of the divorce isn’t based on gender. Whoever pays spousal maintenance is determined by finances alone. It doesn’t matter if it’s the husband or wife who can’t support themselves on their own after a divorce. Based on their current circumstances, either party is eligible to receive alimony.

Do You Need Children to Receive Spousal Support?

No, children do not have to be in the equation for spousal support to hit the negotiation table. All one party has to do is prove that without their spouse they are unable to financially support themselves with the absence of the extra income. Your divorce attorney can help you craft a viable case for spousal maintenance, especially if:

  • The paying spouse was convicted of abuse during the marriage/divorce process
  • The receiving spouse has a debilitating disability

What’s the Difference Between Spousal Support and Child Support?

Remember, child support and spousal support are two different payments. If your divorce decree has both payments mandated, then the payor is responsible for handling both as separate entities.

In short, alimony payments are in place to support your ex-spouse over the time after your divorce. This can be done through temporary spousal support, limited spousal maintenance, or contractual alimony provisions when property settlement is involved.

Child support payments are paid to solely support the children of a marriage. Even after a divorce, as a parent, it is your responsibility to ensure your children’s basic needs are met. This includes:

  • Food
  • Medical Care
  • Clothing
  • Housing

Is Alimony the Law in Texas?

No, alimony is never a guarantee for every divorce. In Texas, spousal maintenance is a possibility if the receiving party meets eligibility requirements that prove they are unable to financially support themselves or their children after the divorce is finalized.

Can You Just Not Pay Alimony?

Even though alimony isn’t a part of every divorce decree, if it’s involved with yours, you must make the payments. Much like failure to pay court-ordered child support, ignoring your alimony orders could result in:

  • Asset Seizure
  • Wage Garnishment
  • Jail Time

If you believe you’re entitled to receiving spousal maintenance, Nilsson Legal Group is here to help you state your case. Our experienced divorce lawyers have been successful in helping many of our clients negotiate alimony terms that meet their needs. Contact us today to get all of your alimony questions answered.