Last time I discussed spousal maintenance, I addressed some of the eligibility requirements and terms of payment such as duration and amount. This time, I would like to go over the other ways a spouse can be eligible for spousal maintenance and the duration of such support under those provisions.
First, a spouse can receive spousal maintenance for a marriage that lasted less than 10 years if they were a victim of family violence committed by the other spouse. The family violence would have to have been committed within two years of the filing of the divorce case. The party committing family violence must have been convicted or been placed on deferred adjudication. For a marriage of less than 10 years with family violence, spousal maintenance can last up to 5 years.
Another way a spouse can qualify is if they have a disability which makes them unable to earn sufficient income to support themself. The disability must be incapacitating and can be shown from lay witness testimony, as expert witnesses are not required. Spousal maintenance under this factor can last for as long as the disability exists, as long as it is established that the receiving spouse cannot provide for themself in the future because of the disability. The court may set status hearings in the future to re-evaluate the receiving spouse’s disability and ability to earn income.
Finally, a spouse can establish eligibility to receive spousal maintenance if they have to care for a child of the marriage who is disabled, which prevents the spouse from making enough income to provide for their minimum reasonable needs. Just like with a disabled spouse, the maintenance award can last as long as the child has the disability, but only so long as the disability prevents the spouse from providing for their minimum reasonable needs.
Maintenance under these provisions is another way to meet the eligibility requirements for possibly obtaining additional support from a spouse post-divorce. Although they have additional requirements that must be met, the amount of time that they can last can make it worth it to seek maintenance under their provisions.