Spousal support is money paid by one spouse to another after divorce. These agreements are usually temporary and aim to address the former spouse’s basic costs until they become self-supporting. A spouse must convince a judge that they cannot meet their basic needs without support, so ensuring they receive their money on time as ordered is critical.

Some flexibility is built into the spousal support payment process in The Colony, and parties can choose a method that suits their needs and circumstances. Because each method has advantages and disadvantages, consulting a local spousal support attorney before making a final decision is advised.

Determining Payment Frequency

Periodic payments are the most feasible for many couples. Monthly payments are the most common, but the parties could arrange a different payment schedule that better suits their needs. If the paying party receives a paycheck every week or two, the parties could arrange that a portion of every check goes towards spousal support. Additionally, parties could coordinate quarterly payments if that works best for them.

When partners have a history of violence, a lump sum payment might be preferable. This arrangement helps alleviate the need for both parties to have continuing contact. A receiving party might also seek a lump sum if the paying party has unstable finances or issues with gambling or substance abuse. In such cases, a lump sum payment ensures the spouse who requires support gets it even if the paying spouse loses their job or squanders their assets.

If the parties choose periodic payments, it is advisable to have an agreement securing the receiving party’s interest in the support. A typical agreement might say that if the paying party defaults and does not cure the default within a specified period, the paying party receives an interest in a brokerage account, parcel of real estate, or some other property. During a private consultation, an attorney in The Colony could help a couple determine the spousal support payment process that works best for them.

Choosing a Transfer Method

Some parties arrange for the payer to provide spousal support directly to the receiver. However, there are some disadvantages to this method. When the receiving party was and remains financially dependent on the paying party, direct spousal support payments could reinforce an unhealthy power dynamic. Enforcing the obligation is more difficult when payment is direct between the parties.

Most divorced parents in Texas route child support payments through the State Disbursement Office of the State Attorney General (AG). When the payor also has court-ordered spousal maintenance obligations, Texas Family Code Annotated §8.062 requires a judge to direct the paying party to make the maintenance payment and the child support payment together. The advantage to the payor is convenience, and the AG’s system tracks payments, so both parties have a record.

If the parties do not also have a child support agreement, they cannot use the AG’s disbursement service. Arranging a direct deduction from the paying party’s paycheck or bank account to the recipient’s bank account produces a clear record and alleviates the need for the parties to interact over money. To learn more about the transfer methods available in the support payment process, speak with an attorney serving The Colony.

Payment Methods for Spousal Maintenance

When courts issue orders for spousal maintenance, they often include a Writ of Withholding order. The Writ of Withholding order directs the paying party’s employer to deduct spousal maintenance from their paycheck and direct it to the receiving spouse. This method ensures that the support is paid on time as agreed.

When someone changes jobs, the order to withhold follows them to the new job. However, it might take a few weeks for the new employer’s payroll system to begin making the deduction. The paying party is responsible for keeping their maintenance payments current during that time.

If a paying party is self-employed or does not receive a paycheck, the parties must establish another method. Automatic direct transfer from the payer’s account to the receiving party’s account ensures the payment is timely and provides each party with a record. A divorcing couple in The Colony could work with a local attorney to develop a satisfactory spousal maintenance payment method.

Consult an Attorney in The Colony About the Spousal Support Payment Process

If you will be paying or receiving spousal support after your divorce, it is important to get the details right. Spending some time thinking about how the payment process should work now could save you from trouble later.

A compassionate attorney from our firm could advise you about the spousal support payment process in The Colony. Schedule a consultation today.

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Meet Matt Towson
Meet Matt Towson
Meet Matt Towson