Divorce Lawyer Shares: Factors in Determining Spousal Support

You never think it’ll happen to you, but here you are facing divorce. As you make this difficult transition, you must know your rights regarding spousal support. Determining eligibility and amounts can get confusing fast with factors like length of marriage, income levels, etc. Get the facts from an experienced Southlake divorce lawyer who can walk you through it. With the right guidance, you can make informed decisions about one of divorce’s most complex issues. Arm yourself with knowledge so you know what to expect. This breakdown of factors determining spousal support will help you prepare and remove some uncertainty.

Eligibility Considerations for Spousal Support Payments

Income and Earning Potential

The court will consider both spouses’ incomes and earning potential. If there is a large disparity, the higher-earning spouse may have to provide support. The judge will evaluate each spouse’s education, skills, age, health, and work experience to determine earning potential.

Length of Marriage  

The longer the marriage, the more likely spousal support will be awarded. The rationale is that a longer marriage means one spouse has supported the other for an extended time, so support should continue for some period after divorce. Spousal support in long-term marriages, especially those over 10-15 years, is common.

Standard of Living During Marriage

The lifestyle you established during your marriage is taken into account. If one spouse cannot maintain a similar standard of living after divorce, spousal support may be awarded to make up the difference. Housing costs, insurance, transportation, and entertainment expenses are evaluated.

Age and Health of Parties 

The court considers each spouse’s age, physical condition, and mental health. If one spouse is older or in poor health, limiting their ability to work, the other spouse may have to provide financial support. Spousal support due to age or health issues may be permanent.

Contributions as Homemaker

If one spouse worked in the home caring for children and homemaking, their contributions are considered. The court may award spousal support to compensate a homemaker spouse for losing the earning capacity and retirement benefits they could have accrued if working outside the home during the marriage.

Frequently Asked Questions About Spousal Support – Consult a Divorce Lawyer

Marriage Length

The length of your marriage plays a big role in determining spousal support. Generally, the longer you are married, the more likely that spousal support will be awarded. This is because, over time, spouses become financially interdependent and accustomed to a certain standard of living. If you have been married 10 years or less, spousal support may be temporary. For marriages over 20 years, spousal support could potentially be permanent.

Income and Earning Potential

The courts will consider each spouse’s income, earning potential, education, skills, and work experience. If there is a significant difference in earning potential and income between spouses, the higher-earning spouse may have to pay spousal support. For example, if you have a degree and stable career while your ex has been out of the workforce for years raising your children, the court may order you to pay spousal support.

Health and Age

The physical and mental health of each spouse is also considered. If one spouse is in poor health or is older, their ability to become self-supporting may be limited. The court may award spousal support to provide for their essential needs.

Child Custody

If one spouse is the primary custodian of your children, the court may order spousal support to help maintain the standard of living for the children. Custodial parents often have a harder time re-entering the workforce, so spousal support helps prevent a big drop in their income.

In summary, the factors for determining spousal support eligibility are complex. However, the bottom line is that spousal support aims to prevent either spouse from significantly decreasing their living standards after a divorce. With the help of an experienced divorce lawyer, you can get the spousal support outcome that is fair for your unique situation.


Understanding the factors that influence spousal support is crucial for anyone going through a divorce. These factors—ranging from the length of the marriage and income disparities to each party’s health and contributions at home—play a significant role in determining the nature and extent of support awarded. Consulting with a seasoned divorce lawyer can provide tailored advice and representation, ensuring that the spousal support agreement is equitable and reflects your circumstances. With professional legal guidance, you can navigate this challenging aspect of divorce with greater confidence and clarity.