Your spouse may try out a dirty divorce tactic such as quitting their job to avoid paying spousal maintenance. This is a threat that your spouse may attempt at some point when your spouse realizes he/she may be forced by the court to pay spousal maintenance for years (or indefinitely, in some cases). While the logical progression in your spouse’s mind may be, “if I quit my job and do not make any money at the time I go to court, then I will not have to pay spousal maintenance.” This is not the case though. Today, we go over why you cannot quit your job just to avoid paying spousal maintenance.
The Court Considers Various Factors When Determining Spousal Maintenance
In Texas, when the court determines spousal maintenance, the judge will look at several factors not just income. The court will also consider the following:
- Duration of the marriage
- Each spouse’s ability to provide for the requesting spouse’s needs
- Age, employment history, and earning ability of the requesting spouse
- Education level of both spouses
- Employment skills of both spouses as well the time necessary for each to acquire additional education and/or training to become financially sufficient
- Each spouse’s ability to meet child support needs (if applicable)
- Property each spouse brought to the marriage
- Marital misconduct, such as domestic violence
- If one spouse contributed to the other’s education, training, or earning potential while married
- Whether one spouse wasted, concealed, destroyed, or disposed of any community property
- Any contributions a spouse made as a homemaker
While income does influence spousal maintenance determinations, it is not the only factor. You cannot just avoid collecting an income during a divorce, so you do not have to pay spousal maintenance.
You Can Modify Maintenance After the Divorce is Finalized
You should also understand that spousal maintenance obligations can also be modified after a divorce is finalized. If a material change in circumstances has happened, maintenance can either be modified or even terminated. So, while you may need to pay maintenance initially after your divorce is finalized, you might not have to pay it forever. For example, if your ex-spouse secures a high paying job after spousal maintenance was established, your could request to modify this agreement.
Do you need assistance with your divorce case? Contact our firm online today or via (512) 768-9737.