Monday, August 8, 2011

What is Spousal Support and when is it available?

In contrast to “spousal maintenance” (see related blog topic), Spousal Support in Texas is awarded on a temporary basis while a divorce suit is still pending. This temporary spousal support is meant to provide a financially dependent spouse with income during the divorce while the parties are working on a resolution to their financial situation.

Temporary spousal support is based on the common law duty to support one’s spouse during the marriage, by providing “necessaries” such as food, clothing, shelter and medical care. As a result, an award of temporary spousal support can be taken into account when the court divides the spouses’ community property, since the spouse who is providing such spousal support is entitled to reimbursement from their community estate.

To be entitled to receive temporary spousal support, the requesting spouse must demonstrate that: (1) the parties have a valid marriage, (2) he or she is unable to pay for necessary expenses, and (3) the other spouse can afford to pay the amount of spousal support sought.

If the spouse receiving temporary spousal support remains unable to pay for necessary expenses at the time of the final hearing/trial, he or she should consider requesting spousal maintenance for a period of time after the divorce is granted.

Blog prepared by Nathaniel Lipanovich and edited by Cynthia W. Veidt.