Spousal Support May Require Preparation for Independence During the Divorce Process

January 26, 2017 Posted in Divorce

Not all parties of divorce are financially prepared to live on their own once the court signs the Final Decree of Divorce. However, according to the Texas Family Code, receipt of spousal maintenance (also known as spousal support and alimony) is not guaranteed in a Texas divorce.

An experienced Dallas spousal support lawyer would strongly recommend that clients begin preparing for financial independence early in the divorce process because the preparatory steps can help justify the need for spousal support even as they help ensure a secure future.

A Structured Approach Helps Individuals Prepare for the Future

Without the benefits of cumulative income, the chances are good that both divorcing spouses can expect some degree of reduced living standards during the period following divorce. Unless both parties earned equal incomes during marriage, one individual might need to find ways to increase income after divorce just to meet minimum reasonable needs.

The following are some actions to take at the beginning of the divorce process to prepare for the future while compelling a judge to issue a spousal support award over the shorter term:

  • Apply for jobs. The job search process may be all that it takes to obtain employment. That said, not everyone is prepared to start a new job while going through the divorce process. Still, the job search is also a good way to determine an individual's marketability and identify the potential need for additional training while also providing evidence to support the need for spousal support.
  • Research qualifications for well-paying careers. For individuals who are not currently qualified for jobs that will meet their basic financial needs, it is important to identify the education and training needed to become eligible for positions within their areas of interest.
  • Identify the training needed to meet qualifications. Whether the desired position requires a college degree or training at a reputable trade school, it is important to identify education providers. This research helps to determine the expected cost of training, which can make a significant difference to the value and length of a spousal support settlement.
  • Seek internships in chosen field when appropriate. Depending on the chosen field, internships may provide the necessary training. In other cases, they can convert classroom education into experience and greater marketability. Relatively few internship opportunities pay a living wage, however, which can factor in when negotiating the terms of spousal support.

Employability is Just One Determining Factor for Spousal Support

The prospects for future employment are important when considering the need for spousal support after divorce — and the value and length of time of the payments. Naturally, judges consider a variety of other factors, such as the length of the marriage, the emotional and physical condition of the spouse seeking support and any number of additional issues.

It is also important to understand that Texas law imposes certain time and value limitations when the courts issue spousal support awards. These limits need not be at issue, however, when both parties agree to higher awards when negotiating their own divorce settlements. Contact us to learn more about how to pursue a fair spousal support settlement.