JAMES PATRICK SMITH, P.C.

  FAMILY  LAW  SPECIALISTS

Family Law          Probate          Guardianship          General Civil Litigation 

RECENT CHANGES TO THE FAMILY CODE

During the 2011 Legislative Session, a number of family law bills were enacted.  One of the most significant changes was the amendment to the spousal maintenance (or alimony) law.

As of September 1, 2011, the legislature has:
 
        Increased the potential amount of alimony available from $2,500
        to $5,000 per month

        Increased the term of the payments from 3 years up to a possible 10
        years. 

The term is based on the length of the marriage:

For marriages that last for 10 - 20 years, the payments extend over a 5 year period.

Marriages lasting for 20 - 30 years are eligible for 7 years of alimony.

Marriages that are 30 years or more are eligible for 10 years of alimony.

As before, the length of alimony payments may be longer if a spouse has an incapacitating physical or mental disability or the spouse is the custodian of a child who has a physical or mental disability.

THIS IS A HUGE CHANGE FOR BOTH SIDES OF THIS ISSUE.  Traditionally, Texas has had very limited alimony available because it is a community property state.  However, more amd more assets like the marital residence are either "underwater" in value, or may have been pledged for home equity loans.  Gone are the days of defined pension plans, and retirement accounts, if they exist, are subject to market fluctuations.
 
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements have some value for couples who want to either avoid the alimony law, or predetermine alimony payments.

CALL 713-654-4990 TODAY TO SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION

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