Can I Collect Arrearages For Out
Posted on July 19, 2021 by Chris Kirker
Unlike many other states, Texas does not offer divorcees a right to spousal maintenance or alimony. Instead, specific requirements must be met in order for a court to award spousal maintenance, and such awards are for a limited period of time. Despite Texas laws strictness in ordering spousal support relative to other states, Texas courts will still enforce alimony judgments issued by out-of-state courts. Please see below for a brief overview of different ways to enforce out-of-state alimony orders.
The Basics: Full Faith and Credit
The enforcement of any out-of-state judgment can be effectuated by any means available for the judgment of debts. These options are more thoroughly discussed. Lets examine two:
A. Income Withholding
For serious deficiencies, a court may choose to enforce alimony arrearages through contempt. This means that the obligor would be detained in jail until the judgment is satisfied. Due to the rather extreme nature of contempt and its effect on the ability of debtors to earning money while in jail, courts are generally reluctant to use this enforcement method in all but the most egregious cases.
If you would like to learn more about enforcing an out-of-state judgment in Texas, please contact us to speak with one of our experienced lawyers today.
What Is Alimony And Spousal Support
Alimony, also referred to as spousal support or spousal maintenance, may be granted in connection with a divorce when a spouse demonstrates that they need financial assistance, and the other spouse can provide it. The gender of each spouse plays no relevance in making this decision. Typically, the majority of states provide a statutory list of factors that a judge must examine, although state law often gives a judges discretion to consider any other factor that may deem just.
Commonly utilized factors includeL the duration of the marriage, the income and earning capacity of each spouse, the debts and assets of each spouse, the age and health of each spouse, and contributions by either spouse to the education or career of the other spouse.
However, other aspects of the determination may be more subjective. For instance, courts in most states consider the standard of living that the spouses had during the marriage. This may account not only for basic necessities, such as clothing, food, and housing, but also include non-essential luxuries that affect the quality of life.
But, permanent alimony still may be granted in some situations in which a spouse may not have an opportunity to rejoin the workforce, often due to advanced age or a serious medical condition. A divorce may not be finalized for a long time, especially if it is contested. A court also may order alimony while it is pending if a spouse needs assistance immediately to meet their basic needs.
Is Spousal Support Mandatory In Texas
No, spousal support is not mandatory in Texas. In the case of a divorce where a spouse is seeking spousal support, the judge will ensure that the situation meets the requirements laid out in Texas law in order to qualify for spousal support. Whether or not spousal support will be awarded, is dependent on whether the spouse seeking support meets a strict set of guidelines.
In Texas, spousal support legally referred to as spousal maintenance is a two-step process for determining if, when, and how long you might have to pay.
Alimony Without Filing Divorce
Under Florida Statute 61.09, a paying spouse may be required to pay alimony without getting divorced. Florida does not recognize legal separation therefore, alimony may still be necessary if a couple is separated. Unlike alimony in divorce cases, alimony under this statute acknowledges the continuation of the marriage, the continued right of a paying spouse to participate in the other spouses estate, and the possibility of a reconciliation. See Wood v. Wood.
Spouses have a legal duty to provide financial support to each other. Spousal support can be required even if the couple is separated and not yet divorced. Spouses are obligated to provide financial support approximate to that which has been established during the marriage. See Astor v. Astor.
To be eligible for a divorce in Florida, at least one spouse must be a resident of Florida for the six months preceding the filing of the divorce petition. However, there is no residency requirement for seeking durational alimony award under Florida Statute 61.09. See Wachsmuth v. Wachsmuth.
Further, there is no requirement that the couple lives apart before the court can order alimony. Moreover, there is no requirement that the party paying alimony be at fault for the separation. However, if both parties have not lived in Florida as a married couple, there may be issues regarding personal jurisdiction. If the court lacks personal jurisdiction, it will not compel a party to pay rehabilitative alimony.
What If I Lost My Job Or Am Unemployed
If you have been ordered to pay spousal maintenance to your ex-spouse and you have lost your job or have become unemployed, you cannot simply stop making your maintenance payments. Instead, you must petition the court for a modification of your spousal maintenance order under A.R.S. 25-327. To prevail on a motion to modify spousal maintenance orders, you must be able to show that your circumstances have substantially changed and continuing.
If the court modifies or terminates the order for you to pay spousal maintenance, the order will not be retroactive. This means that you will still be obligated to pay any arrearages that you might owe. If you need a divorce modification, it is best to file for it as soon as your financial situation changes because the maintenance payments will continue to accrue while your modification case is pending.
Support Modifications can be tricky circumstances. This is why it is recommended to speak with an Arizona divorce attorney that can help.
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What About Temporary Spousal Support
Spouses often need some kind of maintenance payments to help them cover their living expenses while a divorce case is proceeding. Often, the rules for awarding temporary alimony are different than for so-called permanent support. That’s partly because while a couple is still married, state laws require spouses to support each other.
To simplify the process of deciding the amount of temporary alimony, some states and local courts use a formula or guideline.
You don’t always have leave it up to a judge make a decision about alimony in your divorce. In fact, going to trial on any disputes with your spouse is a sure-fire way of increasing the cost of divorce. You’ll most likely need a lawyer to navigate the trial process, including gathering the right kind of evidence and preparing for the hearing. And you might have to hire experts like vocational evaluators.
Modify Alimony Because Of Remarriage
The fundamental policy behind an award of alimony is the disparity in the financial resources of the two parties. Florida law considers one partys ability to pay alimony vs. the other partys need for alimony. See Eckert v. Eckert. Therefore, if an ex-spouse remarries or has become involved in a supportive relationship, it may change financial resources and create a need to modify alimony.
However, Florida courts have ruled that voluntary contributions of a live-in companion cannot be substituted for the legal obligation of a former spouse. See Mott v. Mott. Moreover, the court should consider the financial resources the only resources the parties have available, and that are in their control. See Azzarelli v. Pupello.
Determining whether the supportive relationship is grounds for an alimony modification will depend on the circumstances of each case in the Florida courts. The court will consider many factors, such as:
The financial information of a former spouses new partner may be confidential and barred from a petition to modify alimony in Florida. The financial information of private persons is entitled to protection by Floridas constitutional right of privacy. See Mogul v. Mogul. However, suppose the Tampa divorce lawyer seeking modification can prove the financial information is relevant, or there is a compelling reason to compel disclosure. In that case, it will be admissible in a modification case.
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Length Of Marriage For Spousal Maintenance
While Arizona law does not include a minimum duration of marriage for spousal maintenance awards, it is one of the factors that courts consider when deciding whether to award support. While it is technically possible for a spouse to receive spousal support, or alimony, after being married for a short time, it is not likely. If a court does order to pay alimony / spousal support following a short marriage, the order will likely only last for a few months.
The duration of marriage will also impact how long the paying spouse might have to pay maintenance and the amounts that he or she might have to pay.
However, most spousal maintenance awards do not last for longer than a few years. Maintenance might be ordered for a longer time when couples are ending lengthy marriages in which there is a large disparity between their incomes.
In rare cases, a court might order spousal support to be paid until the recipient dies or remarries, or the payor dies. This only happens when the requester is disabled or elderly, has been married for a long time, and is unlikely to be able to support himself or herself by finding a job.
Disparity In Income And Spousal Support
Even if your estranged spouse makes more money than you, that does not mean that you will automatically receive spousal maintenance. Your judge will use his or her discretion when he or she decides whether to grant your maintenance request.
If you have already divorced and failed to ask the court for spousal maintenance in your divorce case, you will not be allowed to file a petition for spousal support.The only exception to this rule is if you received your divorce from a court that could not obtain personal jurisdiction over your spouse.
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Texas Is Arguably The Hardest State In Which To Get Alimony In Divorce
While eligibility for spousal support is narrow and duration and amount restricted, marital misconduct may be taken into account in setting the award.
Spousal maintenance, traditionally called alimony, is the payment of monetary support from one ex-spouse to the other, and in Texas, as compared with most other states, the law severely restricts who is eligible for spousal maintenance after divorce.
Although court-ordered alimony is difficult to get in Texas, the parties to a divorce may negotiate a contract for the payment of alimony that contains terms more generous than a judge could order under the law. Because of the narrow grounds for spousal maintenance in the divorce law, negotiation of alimony as a contractual obligation can become an important consideration between divorcing spouses in Texas.
However, if the issue ends up before a court in a divorce proceeding, the court does not have nearly as much discretion as courts in many other states do to craft alimony awards. To be eligible to receive spousal maintenance in Texas, the spouse seeking maintenance must show that he or she will not have sufficient property after divorce to provide for his or her minimum reasonable needs. If he or she will have sufficient property to pay or his or her minimum reasonable needs, he or she is not eligible for spousal maintenance.
If minimum reasonable needs cannot be met independently by the spouse seeking maintenance, one of these must also be true:
Calculations Based On Region
This resulted in significant disparities in child support awards between states. These disparities, however, can make it difficult for parents to predict how much they might expect to receive when seeking a child support order from the family court. This is particularly relevant if the parents live in different states.
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For a complete breakdown of computations by region, visit the Custodyxchange website. Variations in assistance payment rules could be attributable to differing methodologies. Each state has the authority to establish its own rules. A few states have collaborated with specialists and researchers to assess the cost of raising children in their respective states.
Others went the easy route and relied on existing studies, which could have come from another state or the national level. This is likely to contribute to the countrys discrepancy in payment awards. According to the law, each state must assemble an evaluation group to analyze and appraise its standards at least once every four years.
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How Long Do You Pay Alimony In Texas
If the court decides to award spousal maintenance, the following parameters set the boundaries for how long the award can last.
1. Up to 5 years of post-divorce support. This the applicable cap if the marriage lasted less than 10 years and the requesting spouse can show eligibility under scenario #1 above or the marriage lasted at least 10 years but less than 20 years.
2. Up to 7 years of post-divorce support. This is the maximum duration allowed if the marriage lasted at least 20 years but less than 30 years.
3. Up to 10 years of post-divorce support. This is the maximum duration allowed if the marriage lasted 30 years or more.
4. For scenarios #2 and #2 above, the support award can last indefinitely so long as the underlying eligibility criteria continue to exist.
This article is only a brief review of some of the laws in Texas relating to spousal maintenance and is not meant as a substitute for the advice of counsel. It is important to consult a Texas divorce attorney in each case before taking any action.
*This article only addresses spousal maintenance paid once a divorce is final. Other rules apply to when a court can award spousal support during a divorce proceeding.
Retaining A Foreign Attorney
You may wish to consult your local attorney before proceeding with the expensive task of translating and authenticating documents for a foreign enforcement proceeding. U.S. embassies and consulates overseas can provide lists of attorneys in foreign countries who have expressed a willingness to assist U.S. clients. See our flyer Retaining a Foreign Attorney.
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Get Legal Advice About Alimony & Spousal Maintenance In Texas
You dont have to face a contentious divorce by yourself. At Coker, Robb & Cannon, Family Lawyers, we are dedicated to helping you navigate the complicated, legal aspects of dissolving your marriage. Our legal team is committed to working tirelessly to help make sure your legal rights and interests when it comes to divorce matters are duly respected and recognized by the court and the opposing party.
Find out how Coker, Robb & Cannon, Family Lawyers can assist with your case. Contact us at 293-2313 to schedule a consultation today!
Alimony Laws In All 50 States: Types Calculation Duration And More
The alimony laws governing spousal support in the US vary from state to state. Though all 50 states in America are alimony states, meaning states that have enacted laws permitting a spouse who cannot work full time or with a lower income to request payments from the other spouse to support themselves after a divorce.
Also referred to as spousal support or spousal maintenance, the law must be established in a statute by a states legislature, hence every state has a form of alimony law governing support after divorce.
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Alimony In Most States
The majority of states prohibit permanent alimony. Temporary alimony is the most common type of alimony statute, meaning that most states make it available to divorcing spouses. Many states limit an award of temporary alimony either by duration or amount. However, it is rehabilitative alimony that is the most frequent type of alimony awarded to a spouse. Rehabilitative alimony awards are favored by courts because they are intended to make the receiving spouse self-sufficient. Rehabilitative alimony is usually offered regardless of the number of years of marriage or fault in the divorce.
Factors The Court Will Consider
The court will consider a long list of factors in deciding if you or your spouse should get alimony. These factors include:
- Length of your marriage
- Your financial situation during the marriage, now and in the future
- Your age, physical and mental health AND
- The reasons for the divorce.
See below for a full list of the factors. The importance of each factor depends on individual circumstances. Judges have very broad discretion.
Factors the court will consider in alimony decisions – the court shall consider all the factors for a fair and equitable award, including: but not limited to:
Read the Law: Md. Code, Family Law § 11106
Although the court is not required to use a formal checklist, it must demonstrate consideration of all necessary factors, including any that are not expressly listed in this section. Such “other factors” can be defined as any factors that the court may deem necessary or appropriate in order to arrive at a fair and equitable award of alimony.
States With Permanent Alimony
In most states, permanent alimony is no longer available. Alimony for life is largely unnecessary now that women may obtain education and enter the workforce. Rather, most states have changed permanent alimony laws to provide the recipient spouse time to become financially self-sufficient before the payments stop.
Connecticut, New Jersey, Oregon, Florida, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont, and West Virginia are the only states that still have perpetual alimony. Bills and motions have been introduced in some of these states to ban the ordering of permanent alimony in favor of temporary, rehabilitative, or reimbursement alimony.
However, permanent alimony may still be granted in states like Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington.
Most states restrict permanent alimony for spouses who have suffered a serious sickness or disability, with the length of the marriage determining the amount.