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Spousal Support Attorney in San Marcos, TX


Statue holding the scales of justice with overlay text saying "Rights Protection, Zealous Representation, Case J. Darwin, Inc.""If you find yourself facing the prospect of divorce in San Marco, Texas, one of your most pressing concerns will probably be that of financial stability. In the midst of this life-altering transition, you may wonder about spousal support, your obligation to pay it, or your rights to receive it.

Texas family law attorney Case J. Darwin understands your concerns and is ready to answer your questions. Contact our firm today for an initial consultation, and let’s discuss your future together.

What Are Spousal Support and Alimony?

In Texas, spousal support can come in a few different forms. Before the divorce is finalized, the court may order one spouse to make payments to the other spouse. The goal is to help the lower-earning spouse cover basic living expenses while the divorce is pending. There are no specific eligibility criteria or pre-set duration for temporary spousal support. The amount and duration are determined by the court based on factors such as each spouse’s income, expenses, and ability to pay, unless the parties can voluntarily agree to an amount. This temporary support ends when the divorce is final.

As part of the final divorce terms, a court might also order an award of “spousal maintenance,” which many know by the older term “alimony.” Maintenance has a specific definition under state law: “periodic payments from the future income of one spouse for the support of the other spouse.” Specific criteria determine when this form of spousal support can be awarded, how long it lasts, and how much it pays.

Additionally, divorcing spouses may agree to a form of support payment generally known as “contractual alimony” as part of an on-out-court negotiated divorce settlement. Unlike court-mandated maintenance payments, the terms of any contractual alimony arrangement are up to the divorcing spouses themselves.

The portrayal of alimony in the media misleads many into thinking that it is easily obtainable and that it will serve as a long-term financial safety net. In Texas, the reality is quite different. Spousal maintenance is not guaranteed. It is awarded under stringent conditions and typically for limited durations to support the receiving spouse’s transition to a new, post-divorce life. This approach contrasts with many states where the court is likelier to order maintenance payments and where those payments may be larger and last longer than what you can expect in the Lone Star State.

Qualifications for Receiving Spousal Maintenance

Texas courts are quite particular about the circumstances under which they will award spousal maintenance. A spouse seeking maintenance must prove that they will lack sufficient financial resources at the time of divorce to provide for their minimum reasonable needs and must satisfy at least one of the following additional conditions:

  1. The marriage lasted for 10 years or longer, and the spouse seeking maintenance lacks the ability to earn sufficient income to meet their minimum reasonable needs.
  2. The spouse seeking maintenance has an incapacitating disability that makes them unable to earn sufficient income to meet their minimum reasonable needs.
  3. The spouse seeking maintenance is the custodian of a child of the marriage, of any age, who requires substantial care and personal supervision because of a physical or mental disability, preventing the spouse from earning sufficient income.
  4. The other spouse has been convicted of or received deferred adjudication for an act of family violence against the spouse or the couple’s child. This must have occurred either within two years of the date on which a divorce suit is filed or while the divorce is pending.

State law limits the amount of maintenance to the lesser of $5,000 per month or 20% of the paying spouse’s average monthly gross income, not counting any:

  • Social Security retirement benefits
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits
  • Workers’ compensation and disability benefits, including for disability connected to military service
  • Benefits paid under federal public assistance programs, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Payments for a child’s foster care
  • Return of principal or capital and accounts receivable

Duration of Spousal Maintenance

Texas courts primarily determine the duration of spousal maintenance payments in Texas by looking at the length of the marriage, though it can be impacted by other factors, such as the recipient’s ability to become self-supporting and the potential duration of a disability, as mentioned above. Maximum durations based on the marriage’s length are as follows:

  • Less than 10 years: No maintenance unless domestic violence occurred
  • 10 to 20 years: Up to 5 years of maintenance
  • 20 to 30 years: Up to 7 years of maintenance
  • 30 years or more: Up to 10 years of maintenance


The terms of spousal maintenance can be modified upon a significant change in circumstances. This typically involves material and substantial change in the income or needs of either party, such as:

  • Disability: If the receiving spouse or a child has a disability that prevents self-support, maintenance can be extended as long as the disability lasts.
  • Termination: Maintenance ends if the receiving spouse remarries or cohabitates with a new partner in a romantic relationship or if either party passes away.

These rules make Texas one of the more restrictive states regarding spousal maintenance, reflecting a policy that favors temporary financial support to aid in the transition after divorce rather than long-term dependency.

Why Choose Case J. Darwin?

Handling issues involving spousal maintenance requires a sophisticated understanding of Texas family law and a strategic approach tailored to the unique situation in question. Houston divorce attorney Case J. Darwin has extensive experience in these matters and is committed to delivering personalized service. He can help you during this challenging time, whether you’re negotiating support terms in your divorce agreement or concerned about your right to receive or obligation to pay spousal maintenance.

Ready to Discuss Your Case?

Every situation is unique, and the best way to understand your options is through a personalized consultation with a spousal support lawyer in Houston. Contact the Law Office of Case J. Darwin Inc. today, and let us start you on your path forward with confidence and clarity.

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