The first thing to know about temporary spousal support is that any spouse can potentially be eligible for it, provided that the person requesting spousal support can’t meet a standard, known as “minimum reasonable needs.”
In Bexar County, as in most jurisdictions, that amount is dependent on the judge’s interpretation as to what exactly is included in the definition of minimum reasonable needs. It is also dependent, however, on the person asking for spousal support to show both a budget and sources of income. The judge will review the budget to determine whether what is listed really qualifies as minimum reasonable needs. If there is indeed a gap between the two amounts, the judge will then determine if the other spouse can provide that and still meet his or her own minimum reasonable needs.
However, with 14 different judges sitting in Bexar County, there are 14 different opinions on what constitutes minimum reasonable needs, and judges have discretion over what is included in that definition and amount.
The temporary spousal support amount can also change over the course of the divorce case, particularly if it’s a complicated case that won’t wrap up in a matter of a few months. Let’s say, for example, the spouse receiving temporary support moves in with family to cut down on expenses. That could be a smart move, especially with the expense of a divorce, but it could also be a move that prompts the spouse paying support to petition the court to eliminate rent from the budget and reduce the recipient’s amount of temporary support.
Perhaps the most important thing to note about temporary spousal support is that it will end upon entry of the final decree. Of course, spousal support could still be written into the final decree-which is typically for a set period of time, dependent on a number of factors-but the dissolution of the marriage by the final decree also ends the temporary spousal support obligation.
(And as we’ll explore more in an upcoming article, there’s a presumption against spousal support in the Texas Family Code, so people receiving temporary spousal support during a divorce will need to think about their post-divorce budgets, their current sources of incomes, and potential future sources of income.)
While spousal support isn’t a given, child support is an entirely different matter independent of any temporary spousal support determination. For divorcing couples with children, child support is typically based on a formula factoring in a percentage of one parent’s income and the number of children being supported. And it’s not often that a judge will exempt a parent from child support obligations. Parents continue to have a duty of support to their children, regardless of their duties to support each other.
Whether you feel that you need spousal support, or you’re paying what you feel might be too much spousal support, we can review your situation and determine how to best approach the judge who would make a determination. At the Law Office of Lisa Vance, we take an approach to divorce that looks at your life both during and after the divorce, and strives to make both better.