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COVID-19 And Divorce: Effective Child and Spousal Support Strategies

COVID-19 And Divorce: Effective Child and Spousal Support Strategies

Many guys across the United States are facing a severe economic strain due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Divorced fathers, in particular, are being hit hard as they try to figure out how they are going to make their child support payments.

 Cordell & Cordell’s latest Virtual Town Hall reviewed strategies men can utilize during this time to modify child support or alimony.

File quickly

In the town hall, Cordell & Cordell’s divorce attorneys explained the vital importance of filing quickly as to set a retroactive date that will lead to relief.

“They really should be looking county to county,” Cordell & Cordell Mississippi Litigation Attorney Jerrod Rayborn said. “Initially, with the filings for support or divorce, there was a big slowdown, but that has started to speed up.

“Depending on what county you are in, some counties you can go directly into the clerk and file it, and it’s done that day. Other counties, you have to leave it in a Dropbox.”

Gathering important information

When seeking a modification, it is your responsibility to help your divorce attorney as much as possibly by gathering relevant financial records.

“Whenever you file a motion to modify, whether you’re modifying alimony or modifying child support, you’re going to want information on not only your own finances, but what your ex is going through during this pandemic,” Cordell & Cordell Oklahoma Litigation Attorney Carly Haiduk said. “Issuing, even if it’s just a few discover requests, can be beneficial.”

Although the discovery process might seem a little invasive, it is important for proving to the court why a modification is necessary.

“Discovery is just the process for getting information from the other side,” Ms. Haiduk said. “For example, in Oklahoma, when you file a motion to modify, you can ask 30 questions under oath. You can ask your ex if she’s earning any extra income at this time. Is she on furlough? Did she get some sort of severance package?

“Getting all of that information, so you can use it in negotiations and present it to the court in your motion to modify.”

Modifying spousal support

The attorneys also noted that the process for modifying spousal support can sometimes be a little more difficult than child support.

“Your first step is going to be taking a look at the language in your marriage settlement agreement, in order to see if it’s modifiable or not modifiable,” Cordell & Cordell New Jersey Senior Litigation Attorney Michael Prasad said. “Even if the language in your agreement indicates that it is nonmodifiable, it’s still a good idea to consult with an attorney.

“Alimony obligations are modifiable based on the showing of a change in circumstance, and judges operate very differently from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and even from county to county. Some judges may look at that and say ‘Well, you have a contract you entered into,’ and some judges and courts may look at the circumstances and see that the change in circumstances was unforeseeable.”

More information

Cordell & Cordell is continuing to produce weekly Virtual Town Halls and daily podcasts to answer your questions about how the pandemic is impacting family law. You can find a full library of content on this topic on the Cordell & Cordell COVID-19 and Divorce Information Hub.

The post COVID-19 And Divorce: Effective Child and Spousal Support Strategies appeared first on Dads Divorce.

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Can Child Support and Spousal Support be Changed After a Divorce is Final?

Can Child Support and Spousal Support be Changed After a Divorce is Final?

It’s a good idea to check with your lawyer every few years and ask the attorney to investigate the possibility of a modification in child support or maintenance.  

The post Can Child Support and Spousal Support be Changed After a Divorce is Final? appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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What goes into an award of spousal support here in Texas?

What goes into an award of spousal support here in Texas?

Originally published by On behalf of Laura Dale.

Very few people come out of a divorce without some financial impact. Any time the same income must stretch over two households instead of one, both parties will experience some adjustments to their finances.

What the courts want to make sure of is that one of you doesn’t experience a significant drop in income while the other party receives an unfair financial advantage. Under these circumstances, spousal support may be appropriate.

How do the courts come up with the amount needed?

Of course, the first hurdle for anyone requesting spousal support is to prove a need exists. After you show that you do not earn enough to support yourself without help, the court will then assess how much you need in order to make up for the difference between what you bring in and what you need for support. Below are generalities regarding what the law says about amount and how long you will receive spousal support:

  • You could receive either up to 20% of your former spouse’s gross income or $5,000, whichever is less.
  • If you or one of your children who resides primarily with you has a disability, you could receive spousal support indefinitely since your need may not end.
  • If you were married for at least 30 years, you could receive alimony for up to 10 years.
  • If you were married between 20 and 30 years, your alimony will more than likely end after a maximum of seven years.
  • If your marriage lasted between 10 and 20 years, you may receive spousal support for up to five years.
  • If your spouse was abusive and you were married less than 10 years, you could receive alimony for no more than five years.

Within the confines of these limits, you and your future former spouse may not agree on duration and amount. If that happens, you will need to present evidence to the court to support your position, whether you are the one needing spousal support or the one who may end up paying it.

You don’t have to go it alone

Nothing less than your financial future is at stake regardless of which side of the issue you are on, so it would be wise to enlist some experienced legal assistance for help. An attorney knowledgeable in Texas law will provide you with an understanding of your rights and an explanation of what you face, along with your legal options.

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.



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Can A Court Order for Post-Divorce Spousal Maintenance Be Modified?

Originally published by San Antonio, TX Family Law and Military Divorce Blog.

Yes, it can.  The Petitioner or Movant must file a Motion to Modify Post-Divorce Spousal Maintenance in the Court that made the initial order.  Procedures for filing an original suit apply, which means the former spouse receiving maintenance must be served with citation.

At an evidentiary hearing, the Movant bears the burden of proving that a material and substantial change has occurred such that the Movant no longer can longer afford to pay the Court-ordered amount.  In proving that a material and substantial change has occurred, the Movant must prove the facts and circumstances that existed at time of the original order and the facts and circumstances that exist now.

Whether the comparison proves to be “material and substantial” is determined at the judge’s discretion.  If proved, the amount of reduction is at the judge’s discretion.

Author Jim Cramp is a retired active duty colonel and the founder and principal attorney at the Cramp Law Firm, PLLC.  The firm provides a spectrum of family law-related services to clients in the greater San Antonio region, across the United States and throughout the world.  The firm specializes in Federal Civil Service and Military Divorce matters.

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.



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husband seek spousal support

Can Your Husband Seek Spousal Support?

husband seek spousal support

 

There are several concerns in divorce cases, depending on your circumstances. These can include child custody arrangements, child support, the division of your marital property, and spousal maintenance – also known as alimony.

While a spousal maintenance award is never a given and the issue doesn’t come into play in every case, there are divorces in which maintenance plays an important role.

Whether your husband can seek spousal support or not will depend on a variety of variables. Understanding the basics as they relate to spousal maintenance can help you make decisions that protect your rights throughout the divorce process.

Can Your Husband Seek Spousal Support?

Maintenance Awards

Spousal maintenance is generally predicated on financial disparity. If, for example, you are the primary breadwinner and your husband was the primary caregiver for your children throughout your marriage, he might be able to successfully seek alimony until he is able to begin working and supporting himself. There are, however, a number of considerations to take into account. Generally, the longer you were married and the greater the difference in earning ability and assets between the two of you, the greater the chance that your husband will be eligible to seek spousal support.

Will Your Husband Be Awarded Alimony?

Every divorce comes with its own highly specific financial circumstances, but the general rule is that if your husband lacks the means to provide for himself and is incapable of attaining appropriate employment right away, he might be awarded maintenance.

This means that if your spouse is unemployed or simply doesn’t earn enough, if his portion of the marital assets aren’t sufficient to make up the difference, and if he doesn’t have the education, skills, or experience to obtain a job that would provide him with the necessary means to support himself – the court might look to you to help him move forward post-divorce with financial support.

It’s important to recognize, however, that alimony is very rarely a permanent proposition. Instead, alimony is a stopgap measure that will be used to help your ex find his financial footing after the divorce. Generally, the longer your marriage and the greater the financial disparity, the longer the alimony period.

Determining Spousal Maintenance

Every determination regarding alimony is specific to the individual situation, but there are some basics that almost universally apply. The court will take a variety of factors into careful consideration in determining whether alimony is appropriate and, if so, what its duration should be. These factors can include:

  • The duration of your marriage (having been married for ten years or more can play an important role)
  • The age and health status of both you and your husband
  • How your marital property was divided (each of your post-divorce assets)
  • The level of education each of you has (including your level of education now as compared to your level of education when you married)
  • Your earning capacity in relation to your husband’s earning capacity
  • The tax consequences related to your divorce
  • The contents of any premarital or postmarital contractual agreements (a prenup, for example)
  • The amount of time it will likely be necessary for your husband to become self-supporting at a level that’s comparable to the one you maintained as a married couple
  • Any contribution that your husband made to your education or to further your career during the course of your marriage
  • Any other circumstances that the court deems relevant

if the court determines that your husband is entitled to maintenance, it will then go about calculating the appropriate amount and duration, which will be predicated on your ability to pay while still satisfactorily supporting yourself.

What Does Maintenance Cover?

Maintenance can be a mechanism for making property division more equitable, a means of short-term support to help your ex-husband become financially self-sufficient, or a permanent support strategy for a spouse who has a limited ability to earn that cannot be rectified or who is outright unemployable (because of a disability, for example). Permanent maintenance is far less common than temporary maintenance.

When it comes to the division of marital property, there are instances when maintenance can help make the distribution more equitable. For example, if you own and manage a business that supported your family throughout your marriage, it can be very difficult to value and/or divide the business for divorce purposes.

If you keep the business, the court may award your ex-husband maintenance to help smooth out any disparity in the property division. Further, if your husband didn’t work or was underemployed during the course of your marriage, the court may award him temporary maintenance while he finds his way back into the work world and begins earning a sufficient salary.

Mitigating Circumstances

In most situations, there simply is no guarantee of maintenance. If the judge finds, for example, that your ex was taking advantage of your generosity by not working throughout the marriage, he or she could deny maintenance.

Further, if your husband’s marital misconduct – such as overly lavish spending or an extramarital affair – brought about the dissolution of your marriage, the judge can take that into consideration in determining whether maintenance is appropriate or not.

Perhaps more than any other divorce issues, the question of maintenance is highly specific to the situation at hand and often hotly contested. If you have maintenance concerns, you need the professional legal counsel of an experienced divorce attorney on your side.

The post Can Your Husband Seek Spousal Support? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Spousal Maintenance Awards in Texas Divorce Cases

Spousal Maintenance Awards in Texas Divorce Cases

Originally published by Robert Epstein.

By

A court in a Texas divorce case may only order spousal maintenance if certain conditions are met.  The court must then consider relevant factors in determining the duration, amount, and manner of the payments.  The other spouse may challenge a maintenance award if there is insufficient evidence to support a finding of eligibility for maintenance or if the trial court abused its discretion in ordering the specific award.

In a recent case, a husband challenged a maintenance award and the property division in his divorce.

Under Tex. Fam. Code Section 8.051, a spouse may receive spousal maintenance if he or she cannot earn enough income to meet his or her “minimum reasonable needs” due to certain specified circumstances.  In this instance, the applicable provision of the statute provides that a spouse may be eligible for maintenance if he or she does not have the ability to make sufficient income to meet his or her minimum reasonable needs and has been married for at least 10 years.

Maintenance is generally only available under this provision if the spouse has been diligent in trying to develop skills to provide for his or her minimum reasonable needs during the separation and while the divorce case is pending, but this is a rebuttable presumption.

The husband argued the court had not made sufficient findings regarding the wife’s minimum reasonable needs to support its maintenance order.  The court considered several factors and found the wife earned $76,000 per year from working full time.  The court also found good cause to require the husband to pay $1,500 per month in spousal support from March 2018 to May 2021.

The appeals court found the express findings made by the court supported an implied finding the wife was eligible for a maintenance award.  The appeals court also found evidence in the record supporting the implied finding.  The wife had testified she needed the support to adjust to maintaining a household and improving her career.  She also provided a budget showing her monthly expenses exceeded her gross-monthly income and the child support she received.  The appeals court found this evidence was sufficient to show that her combined income and child support did not meet her minimum reasonable needs.

With some evidence supporting a trial court finding the wife had rebutted the presumption against maintenance, the appeals court could not find the trial court had abused its discretion.

The husband also argued the evidence did not support the amount of the award based on the statutory factors in Tex. Fam. Code Section 8.052. Under the statute, courts are to consider several factors in determining the amount and duration of a maintenance award.  In this case, the trial court considered those factors.

The appeals court found evidence supporting the statutory factors.  The wife had spent most of the 19-year marriage supporting the husband in his education and career.  She testified she had worked part-time for several years so she could be home with the children.  She had to increase her hours since the divorce case was filed.  She testified she would have a hard time finding a similar position locally if she lost her current job and that her employment was limited by the geographic restriction on the children’s primary residence designation. She also testified to having a serious medical condition.

There was evidence the husband made approximately $193,000 per year.  They had used their retirement to buy their first house. The appeals court noted the husband had been able to fund his accounts in the years since, but the wife had not. The wife testified regarding her lack of retirement savings, and there was evidence of an account in her name with $15,325.91.

The appeals court found there was evidence relating to the statutory factors the trial court could have based its determination on regarding the amount and duration of the maintenance payments. There was no abuse of discretion as to the amount, manner, or duration of the maintenance award.

The husband also argued the trial court abused its discretion in awarding the wife 70% of the community estate.  The divorce was granted on the grounds of insupportability.  The wife had spent most of the marriage caring for the children as a homemaker and supporting the husband’s pursuit of his own education and career.  The appeals court noted that the wife’s job and the geographic restriction limited her ability to obtain other employment. Furthermore, most of the assets she received in the property division were not liquid.  She would not have immediate access to those funds if she or the children needed them. The appeals court found no abuse of discretion in the property division.

The appeals court affirmed the trial court’s judgment.

In this case, the appeals court found sufficient evidence to support the trial court’s order.  If you are facing a divorce, an experienced Texas divorce attorney will work with you to identify the evidence to support your case.  Call McClure Law Group at 214.692.8200 to schedule a consultation.

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.



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The Public Needs a Standardized Spousal Support Formula

The Public Needs a Standardized Spousal Support Formula

Before filing for divorce, it is likely you would like an estimate of how a judge will examine you and your spouse’s assets. Most importantly, you would like an idea of the future awards or obligations that will result from the divorce. Yet, in Nevada (and in most other jurisdictions), such a reasonable request from […]

The post The Public Needs a Standardized Spousal Support Formula appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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Putative Marriage: Married 25 Years and Left with No Spousal Support?

Putative Marriage: Married 25 Years and Left with No Spousal Support?

What would you do? You’re legally married or, think you are but find out a previous marriage is still legal.

The post Putative Marriage: Married 25 Years and Left with No Spousal Support? appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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