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The Law Office of Lisa A. Vance, P.C.

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Divorce and Family Law Matters

We are now accepting clients statewide in Texas.

WE ARE WORKING!

As the situation with COVID-19 continues to develop and evolve, the safety, health and well-being of our clients and our team is extremely important to us. We are watching for the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and international medical experts to learn how we can best manage our facility and our clients.

We would like to reassure you that The Law Office of Lisa A. Vance, P.C. will continue to be available to provide services to all of our clients.

Our lawyers and paralegals are working in the office and electronically, although most of us are working from home. Below is a list of FAQs regarding our response and commitment to you during COVID-19.

Can I even have a consultation with my lawyer remotely?

Yes, The Office of Lisa A. Vance, P.C. has a comprehensive remote working capability and all of our lawyers and paralegals are equipped to work securely from home.

Will my lawyer be available to answer questions and work on my case?

Yes, your legal matters will continue to receive our attention. You can email, call, or videoconference with your lawyer during this time.

We also have multiple videoconferencing options; please contact your attorney for the platform that works best for you

How are court hearings and appointments affected?

Court in Bexar County are now conducted by Zoom Please see our blog article Court via Zoom: It’s Actually, Really Court (and Here’s How It Works)

Can I consult with a lawyer about a new family law or divorce matter?

Yes, we have office staff working in house and remotely to ensure continuity in our business. For information about a family law or divorce matter, please call our office or complete the Request a Consultation Form.

Your family law matters remain our top concern and we are not going to permit this pandemic to take priority over your needs. We will remain confident, alert and prepared.

We wish you and your family well as we work through this difficult situation together.

With warm regards,
Lisa A Vance

 

 

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Am I eligible for spousal maintenance?

| Jul 12, 2019 | Spousal Support |

Spousal maintenance, known colloquially (but not legally in Texas) as alimony, is applicable in some but not all marriages. There are a series of requirements establishing who is eligible and for how long they’re entitled to receive it – though, at its core, it’s intended for spouses who didn’t work or were unable to work during a marriage to have support while making a transition to working as a single person. 

Spousal maintenance requirements in the Texas Family Code largely depend on how long a couple was married prior to divorce. For couples married 10 to 20 years, it’s up to five years; for those married 20 to 30 years, it’s up to seven years; for those married 30 years or more, it’s 10 years. It’s also possible to apply spousal maintenance to marriages less than 10 years if family violence is involved.

It’s also contingent on a number of factors laid out specifically in the Texas Family Code, including “each spouse’s ability to provide for that spouse’s minimum reasonable needs independently, considering that spouse’s financial resources on dissolution of the marriage,” and “the education and employment skills of the spouses, the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the spouse seeking maintenance to earn sufficient income, and the availability and feasibility of that education or training.”

So, if both spouses have full-time jobs that pay enough to allow them to maintain households, a judge may determine that spousal maintenance isn’t needed. But if a spouse has quit a job in order to take care of children and maintain a household, the judge may determine that spousal maintenance is necessary – especially if there’s a great disparity between what one spouse makes and what the other could make if he or she instantly went back on the job market.

There’s one more provision to keep in mind: “Marital misconduct, including adultery and cruel treatment, by either spouse during the marriage.” We discussed whether or not proving adultery was necessary for divorce in a recent article; though it’s not required to obtain a divorce decree, it can be helpful for a person looking to secure spousal maintenance.

The maximum amount that can be awarded is the lesser of $5,000 or 20 percent of the contributing spouse’s average monthly gross income – which can, when combined with child support, add up to a substantial portion of the payer’s income.

Because it’s intended to be transitional, it’s better to come into court with a plan for how spousal maintenance will be used. A judge will likely be more receptive to a person intending to enroll in a job training program and seek employment within two or three years than a person who will just collect spousal employment and continue to not work. That said, a person’s ability to work, based on physical or emotional factors – which could involve recovering from spousal abuse – figures significantly into the equation.

It’s also worth noting that a person can lose spousal maintenance “if the court finds that the obligee cohabits with another person with whom the obligee has a dating or romantic relationship in a permanent place of abode on a continuing basis.” This is because spousal maintenance sometimes ends once the receiving party remarries. So cohabitating could be deemed marriage if the parties fall into certain criteria. It requires a hearing to determine this – it can’t just be the obligor making an allegation of this – but it’s certainly important for all parties involved to be aware of that provision when entering into a spousal maintenance agreement.

If you believe you might be eligible for spousal maintenance as you start the divorce process – or you’re concerned about what your obligations are – it’s best to discuss it as part of your initial consultation at the Law Office of Lisa A. Vance. We can, based on your marital history and your incomes, assess what you’re eligible for and discuss strategies to either secure spousal maintenance or determine workable alternatives to a fixed monthly payment.

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