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Maintenance for Disabled Spouses

Posted on in Spousal Support

Texas divorce attorney, Texas family law attorneyIn Texas, courts can order spousal maintenance if a party can establish that he or she lacks the ability to provide for his or her reasonable needs because of an incapacitating physical or mental disability. Demonstrating a disability for the purposes of receiving maintenance can be difficult, so if you are considering a divorce and have questions about your eligibility to receive alimony, it is critical to contact an experienced complex divorce attorney who can explain your rights and legal responsibilities.

Establishing Disability

Before a court will award spousal maintenance based on disability, the party seeking alimony must first provide evidence of a physical or mental disability. This does not necessarily require the submission of medical evidence. Instead, a party can demonstrate his or her condition through circumstantial evidence and the testimony of witnesses. For instance, when attempting to establish disability, courts will take into consideration a series of factors that can be deduced through testimony, including whether the party seeking maintenance has attempted to secure employment in the past or is currently receiving any form of income. Providing this type of evidence is often necessary to demonstrating a link between the party’s disability and his or her inability to sustain employment. Without this link, courts are often reluctant to order payment of spousal maintenance based on disability.

Continuing to Receive Maintenance

Furthermore, although there is generally a cap on how long a court can order alimony, in cases where a spouse is disabled, the court can require that spousal maintenance continue for as long as the spouse is eligible. To prove eligibility, the disabled spouse must demonstrate that:

  • He or she continue to have an incapacitating disability; and
  • The disability prevents him or her from earning enough income to provide for his or her reasonable minimum needs.

When attempting to establish disability, a party can provide evidence that he or she is receiving social security disability benefits. However, this alone does not constitute prima facie evidence of disability. Furthermore, Texas courts are granted discretion when deciding to order continued payment of spousal maintenance. This means that they can use their own judgment when evaluating the credibility of a witness.

Contact Us Today to Speak with an Experienced Complex Divorce Attorney

Proving to a court that you are eligible for spousal maintenance can be a difficult process. This process is made even more challenging for those who have disabilities. Having the advice of an experienced complex divorce attorney can make all the difference in whether a disabled spouse is able to continue receiving maintenance, so if you have a disability and are considering divorce, please contact Powers and Kerr, PLLC today to speak with one of our passionate Round Rock complex divorce attorneys.

Source:

http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/FA/htm/FA.8.htm

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