How the courts determine “ minimum reasonable needs” for Texas Spousal Maintenance Payments

As a former law enforcement agent and detective and a longtime consulting business owner, Mr. Wilson’s knowledge in criminal law, family law and commercial law areas stands out as both practical and extensive.

spousal maintenanceIn the state of Texas, once a court has determined that one spouse is entitled to receive maintenance payments after a divorce, the court must then consider and analyze all relevant information to determine what the payments will be. For instance, the court considers the ability of the spouse seeking payments to provide for his or her “minimum reasonable needs” independently with his or her own resources.

The spouse seeking maintenance payments will have expenses such as mortgage, utilities, groceries, insurance, car payments, and medical costs and will show evidence of those expenses at trial, which the court will examine to determine minimum reasonable needs.

However, the spouse’s expenses are not the only factor to be considered when determining minimum reasonable needs. The spouse’s mental health may also be considered. If the spouse seeking payments has a mental illness that prevents him or her from being financially self-sufficient, the court may take that into account when making a determination as to the amount of maintenance payments.

Physical health or impairment may be another factor for the court to consider. If the spouse seeking payments is unable to work because of a physical health problem or a disability, the court may take that into consideration. For instance, a spouse who is diabetic and blind and raising a child may receive higher maintenance payments than if he or she did not have such health conditions.

The courts may also consider the educational background of the spouse seeking maintenance payments. If the spouse seeking payments is attending school full-time and unable to support himself or herself until finishing his or her degree, the court may take that into account when determining the minimum reasonable needs of that spouse.

In addition to considering the spouse’s expenses as well as his or her physical and mental health, any impairments he or she may have, and whether or not the spouse is a student, the court will consider other factors to determine the minimum reasonable needs. Minimum reasonable needs are also one of many factors considered when determining spousal maintenance payments.

Be sure to consult a Fort Worth divorce attorney to ensure that your divorce settlement is fair. An experienced DFW divorce attorney can explain how spousal maintenance payments will be calculated, whether you are the spouse seeking payments or the spouse who will be required to pay maintenance. If you are in need of a DFW family law attorney, please contact the Wilson Law Practice today.



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