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Spousal Support Violations

Attorneys Representing Clients in Dallas

In many divorce actions, the lesser earning party will seek support from the spouse with a higher income. Whether spousal support is appropriate, and if so, what amount is owed is often a point of contention, and a spouse ordered by the court to pay a specified amount may ultimately disagree with the ruling. People have to comply with court orders regardless of whether they agree with them, however, and those who violate spousal support orders can be held accountable. If you are owed support pursuant to a court order or are accused of spousal support violations, it is critical to meet with a lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your rights. The dedicated Dallas divorce attorneys of McClure Law Group can advise you of your options for pursuing a just outcome and assist you in fighting to protect your interests.

Spousal Support Under Texas Law

Maintenance is the term Texas uses for financial support payments made by one spouse to the other following the dissolution of a marriage. Spousal maintenance is only awarded in limited circumstances. The court will consider numerous factors to determine whether support is warranted, such as the length of the marriage and the income and earning potential of each party. If it finds that support is appropriate, it will issue an order dictating that one spouse must pay the other maintenance and will set the amount of the payments and the duration for which they must be paid. Parties may also enter into a contractual agreement to pay spousal maintenance.

Penalties for Spousal Support Violations

Under Texas law, any spousal maintenance that is not paid on time is considered an arrearage. If a party obligated to pay maintenance pursuant to an order or contract fails to do so, the person who is owed maintenance can file an action to enforce the obligation. If the court finds the obligor spouse failed to comply with the terms of the order or contract, it can render a judgment against the obligor and enforce it by any means available for enforcing judgments for debts. The court may also enforce the order by holding the obligor in contempt.

Additionally, if a person fails to make maintenance payments as required by an order or contract, the court may issue an order stating that the funds be withheld from the individual’s disposable earnings. If the obligation is based on a contractual agreement, however, the court cannot order that the amount withheld exceeds the amount that could have been ordered by the court under Texas law. Additionally, withholding of income is not allowed unless it is specifically permitted by the underlying contract.

Defenses to Spousal Support Violations

There are defenses available to a party accused of being in contempt of court for failing to pay maintenance, such as an inability to pay the amount ordered. The obligor can also argue he or she lacked property to sell to raise the funds and was unable to borrow or otherwise legally obtain the money needed. The defense that the obligor was unable to pay the maintenance owed must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence.

Meet With an Attorney in Dallas

Courts will often order one spouse to pay the other support after a marriage is dissolved in order to address financial disparities, and when a party refuses to abide by a spousal support order, it often causes economic hardships. If your former spouse violated a support order or you are accused of unjustly neglecting to pay support, it is advisable to meet with a lawyer to assess your options. The capable attorneys of McClure Law Group are proficient at helping people in the pursuit of just results in family law matters and we will work tirelessly on your behalf. Our primary office is in Dallas, and we can meet clients at our Collin County office in Plano as well. We regularly represent people in divorce and support actions in Dallas, Garland, Richardson, McKinney, Irving, Rockwall, Fort Worth, and Frisco. We also aid people in family law cases in cities in Dallas, Grayson, Tarrant, Denton, Collin, and Rockwall Counties. You can reach us by calling 214.692.8200 or accessing our form online to set up a meeting.

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