If you find yourself in the often long and complicated process of going through a divorce, our Austin divorce lawyers may be able to provide you with the representation you deserve. Spousal maintenance payments, also known a spousal support, are often high and can impose a substantial burden on your income. If you earn more money than your spouse, it is very likely that you will be required by the judge to pay spousal maintenance payments. Most spousal maintenance payments are not awarded if you have been married for a short time or if you earn a similar amount to your spouse. An Austin family lawyer can help you determine how much you will pay in spousal maintenance and if there is any way to reduce the cost. If you are ordered to pay spousal maintenance, you usually have to pay an exact amount to your spouse each month. These payments continue until a date that is determined by the judge, and it must be limited to the shortest reasonable time. The payments also cease if one spouse passes away, gets remarried, or lives with another person that he or she has a romantic relationship with. In most cases, you and your spouse can come to an independent agreement as to how much spousal maintenance should be paid. If you are unable to reach an agreement on your own, the court will determine how much you pay. This is a difficult process that an Austin family lawyer can help you navigate.
The fact that you have to pay spousal maintenance to your ex-spouse does not mean that you have done anything wrong or that the court is punishing you. It is simply an often unexpected cost of entering a marriage that does not last. Spousal maintenance payments have been legal for over a century, and while they are not as common in modern times, it is likely that they will continue for a long time. They apply most often to cases where the parties have been married for more than 10 years, and one spouse lacks sufficient property to provide for his or her minimum reasonable needs.
The amount you pay in spousal maintenance is determined, in part, by your earnings capacity. The amount your spouse earns as well as your spouse’s education and employment skills are also a factor. You may be required to make some major work and life changes to accommodate spousal maintenance payments. If the judge determines that you are owed spousal maintenance payments and your spouse refuses to pay, you should take action immediately. A contempt proceeding or wage withholding order requires your spouse to pay monthly alimony and has the force of any other court order.
Call Nunis & Associates today at (512) 236-9696 to work with an Austin family lawyer who understands the spousal maintenance process.