Lewisville, TX Divorce Attorney Patrick A. Wright Explains the New 2011 Changes in the Texas Spousal Maintenance A.K.A. Alimony Statute

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Texas Alimony Statute Changes, TX Divorce Attorney Patrick A. Wright of The Wright Firm, L.L.P. explains the new changes to the Texas spousal maintenance statute as of September 1, 2011.

Patrick A. Wright

Lewisville, TX attorney Patrick A. Wright of The Wright Firm, L.L.P. explains that September 1, 2011 will bring new changes to the Texas spousal maintenance a.k.a. alimony statute. The Texas Governor signed H.B. 901 on June 17, 2011 to be effective on September 1, 2011. The Texas Legislature Online website contains a full text of the bill.

Patrick A. Wright explains: “The maximum amount of spousal maintenance was increased from $2,500 a month to $5,000 a month, or 20 percent of gross earnings, whichever is less, to provide for a spouse’s “minimum reasonable needs”.

In a Texas suit for dissolution of marriage, a spouse can seek spousal maintenance if the spouse will lack sufficient property, including the spouse’s separate property, on dissolution of the marriage to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs and either family violence has occurred during the suit or within two years of the suit or the spouse seeking maintenance cannot support themselves because of a physical or mental disability, is the custodian of a child that requires substantial care, or the parties have been married for 10 years or longer and the spouse lacks the ability to earn sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs.
If the spouses have been married for at least 10 years but not more than 20 years, the court may order maintenance up to five years.

The court may order spousal maintenance for up to seven years if the spouses were married to each other for at least 10 years but not more than twenty years.

If the spouses were married for thirty years or more, the spouse seeking maintenance may receive it up to 10 years.

Patrick Wright further explains, “This change is significant in that Texas law now compensates for longer duration marriages and increases the potential amount that spouses can receive per month. However, there still exists a presumption that if the spouses have been married ten years or longer and lack the ability to earn sufficient income that alimony should not be awarded.” The spouse must still show that they have exercised diligence in:
(1)    Earning sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs; or
(2)    Developing the necessary skills to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs during a period of separation and during the time the suit for dissolution of the marriage is pending.

The short answer is to be sure to discuss alimony with your lawyer if you are considering divorce in Texas.

Patrick A. Wright has over 17 years of experience and was admitted to practice in Texas in 1994. Patrick A. Wright, Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, is a member of the Denton County Bar Association, Dallas Bar Association, and the Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists. He has been named by Texas Super Lawyers magazine as one of the top attorneys in Texas for 2011. Only five percent of the lawyers in the state are named by Super Lawyers.

About the Firm

The Wright Firm, L.L.P. has staffed offices located in Dallas, Denton, and Lewisville, Texas. The firm also maintains offices in Frisco, Plano, and Ft. Worth, Texas by appointment only. The firm serves clients in Dallas County, Collin County, Tarrant Court, Denton County, and throughout the State of Texas.

Mr. Wright, Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, is the managing partner of the firm and is a member of the Family Law Section of the State Bar of Texas.

Attorney Patrick A. Wright offers legal counsel primarily in the following areas:

  •     Divorce
  •     Family Law
  •     Child Custody
  •     Complex Property Division
  •     Modification of Existing Custody Orders

The Wright Firm also offers other services besides family law such as bankruptcy, immigration, probate and estate, criminal law, tax, corporate law, and civil litigation. For more information about the firm please go to http://www.thewrightlawyers.com or call (972) 353-4600.

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