Stay-at-home mothers sacrifice a great deal to improve their children’s upbringing, from their careers to their financial stability and earning ability as an individual. They may have to put up with others looking down on them for their life choices and lose a lot of the effort, money and time they invested in prior education and experience since being out of the workforce for long periods negates previous qualifications in many cases.
As a result, they may worry about surviving financially after a divorce and wonder if they will receive alimony to help them adjust. While Texas does not award spousal maintenance all the time, it does under certain circumstances.
Eligibility for spousal maintenance hinges on several factors. The court considers whether the stay-at-home mom lacks sufficient property (including her share of marital assets) to provide for minimum reasonable needs. If a stay-at-home mom is unable to secure adequate employment due to a physical or mental disability, or because she needs to care for a child with a disability, it strengthens the case for spousal maintenance.
The court also examines the duration of the marriage, with longer marriages often having a higher likelihood of receiving spousal maintenance. Ten years is usually what Texas courts use as a guide. Judges may also issue spousal maintenance when the spouse committed domestic violence within two years prior to the divorce.
Type of maintenance
There are two kinds of maintenance, temporary and permanent. The former is for if a spouse needs financial aid during divorce proceedings and lasts only until the finalization of the divorce. Permanent is for after the legal end of the marriage. The law sets a cap on the monthly maintenance amount, limiting it to the lesser of $5,000 or 20% of the paying spouse’s average gross income. The duration of the marriage affects the duration of spousal maintenance.
According to the Pew Research Center, 26% of mothers stay at home with their children. Stay-at-home mothers choose their path for many reasons, from wanting to personally care for their children to reducing childcare costs for the family as a whole. Regardless of the reason, the fact is that they give up a lot, including some measure of personal financial stability. This can leave them in a lurch after a divorce. However, they still receive their share of marital assets, excluding anything specified in a prenuptial agreement, and may receive spousal maintenance depending on the circumstances.