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Spousal maintenance for a disabled spouse

Dallas Divorce Lawyers Helping People Protect Their Rights in Dissolution Proceedings

The decision to end a marriage is often complicated, as divorce not only has legal ramifications but impacts people emotionally and financially as well. When one spouse suffers from a disability, the choice to legally sever ties can be especially challenging due to concerns over the disabled spouse’s financial well-being. Pursuant to Texas law, the courts will often award spousal maintenance for a disabled spouse, which can help to ease some apprehension regarding their ability to provide for their needs. If you intend to end your marriage and you or your spouse have a mental or physical disability, it is important to talk to an attorney about your rights. The knowledgeable Dallas divorce lawyers of McClure Law Group are proficient at handling complex divorce cases, and if we represent you, we will fight to help you seek the outcome you deserve.

Spousal Maintenance for a Disabled Spouse

The Texas Family Code (the Code) addresses the circumstances under which spousal maintenance may be awarded to a disabled spouse. Specifically, the Code states that if the spouse seeking maintenance lacks sufficient property, including separate property, upon dissolution of the marriage to provide for their minimum reasonable needs, and they are unable to earn sufficient income to meet those needs due to a physical or mental disability, the courts may grant them spousal maintenance.

It is important to note that Texas law does not explicitly require medical evidence to prove disability in the context of spousal maintenance. Instead, the court may infer incapacity from circumstantial evidence or competent testimony of a lay witness. The testimony of the spouse seeking maintenance, in and of itself, may be sufficient and probative to establish that a disability exists and that it prevents the spouse from obtaining gainful employment, however, mere assertions of symptoms without substantive evidence may not be adequate to establish a disabling condition.

Determining the Amount and Duration of Spousal Maintenance for a Disabled Spouse

If a Texas court determines a spouse should be awarded spousal maintenance due to a disability, it will then consider a variety of factors outlined in the Code when determining the amount and duration of such maintenance. These factors include each spouse's ability to provide for their own minimum reasonable needs independently, the employment skills and education of each spouse, , the length of the marriage, and the age, earning ability, employment history, and physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance.

The courts will also weigh the efforts of the spouse seeking maintenance to obtain suitable employment to meet their own minimum reasonable needs, any acts by either spouse resulting in excessive or abnormal spending or destruction or fraudulent disposition of marital property, and any marital misconduct by either spouse in the proceedings.

The Code also addresses the duration for which spousal maintenance is available in Texas, stating that the court may order maintenance for a period of time it deems just and equitable based on the circumstances of the case, and establishes limits for how long maintenance can endure based on the length of the marriage. The Code also states that the courts must limit the duration of spousal maintenance to the shortest reasonable time that lets the spouse receiving the support earn enough money to take care of themselves unless the spouse can't meet their basic needs because of a significant physical or mental disability.

Confer with a Skilled Dallas Divorce Attorney

While divorce actions can be emotionally and legally challenging under typical circumstances, they may become even more so when one spouse has a disability. If you or your spouse are considering filing for divorce and you want to learn more about spousal maintenance for a disabled spouse, it is smart to confer with an attorney as soon as possible. The skilled Dallas divorce attorneys of McClure Law Group are proficient at helping people protect their financial health in divorce actions, and if we represent you, we will work tirelessly on your behalf. Our primary office is located in Dallas, and we have a Collin-County office, which is located in Plano, where we can meet clients by appointment. We frequently represent people in divorce actions in Dallas, McKinney, Fort Worth, Frisco, Rockwall, Irving, Richardson, and Garland. We also assist parties with other family-law matters in cities in Dallas, Denton, Rockwall, Collin, Tarrant, and Grayson. You can contact us by calling 214.692.8200 or by using our form online to set up a meeting.

Client Reviews
"McClure Law Group was very professional and responsive. They listened to my concerns and desires as it pertains to the service requested and I'm very pleased." Jade Nguyen
"Kelly and her team are always a pleasure to work with, and their work product always exceeds one’s expectations." George Tamke
"When I most needed professional, good quality responses McClure Law Group was there. Thank you for the service that I have received from everyone!" Norma Charles
"McClure Law Group’s team is very responsive! I have very much appreciated their communication. They are always on top of what is happening and return my calls or emails quickly." Brie Cherry
"Kelly McClure has been representing me for the past several years and has been an amazing advocate, confidant and sounding board. She is always available by phone, even when she is on vacation. She has answered my questions on weekends and always given me an honest opinion. I highly recommend this group to anyone." Heather Bell
"The McClure Law Group helped me through a very difficult divorce and they definitely had my back every step of the way. I couldn’t recommend the team enough!" Shell A.
"I could not be happier to have had McClure Law. I truly appreciate their accessibility and patience. I can tell they are very knowledgeable, and I trust their guidance. I am SO thankful I went with great lawyers to handle my family case." Victor Lollar
"Kelly is detailed oriented and she truly cares about her clients. Her knowledge of the laws and her ability to get a case resolved make her stand far above others. I highly recommend McClure for your family law needs!" Peter Morgan