Child & Spousal Support

Texas Divorce Lawyer

The transitions a family faces when going through divorce include working out continued financial support. Where finances were once pooled together to cover expenses as a family, now spouses must individually adjust to covering their own needs. In addition, both parents are still obligated to financially support the children, and arrangements need to be determined for sharing this responsibility as well.

Child Support in Texas

A couple may arrive at an agreement for child support out of court, either by themselves, through a negotiated settlement using their lawyers, or by means of alternative dispute resolution. When a settlement cannot be reached, the court will determine child support.

The Texas Family Code provides guidelines for calculating child support. At the Law Office of Milissa C. Barrick, we help clients use the formula contained in state statutes, which addresses factors such as the number of children in the family, if the party is already paying support for children from a previous marriage, and special needs that exceed the guidelines.

A very basic child support calculation guideline for one child is as follows:

  • 20 percent of the non-custodial parent’s net income
  • Health Insurance costs for that child
  • 50% of uncovered medical expenses
  • Net income less than $8,550/month pays the presumed guideline maximum
  • Net income of $8,550/month or greater pays $1500/month in child support

Other circumstances may affect the amount of child support, and we will ask you about such factors to ensure proper child support amounts are presented to the court or for a negotiated settlement.

For more information about child support calculation, see the Texas State Family Code.

In addition to assisting with child support calculation for payments, our firm also helps clients with other child support related issues:

  • Temporary Child Support Orders
  • Modification of Child Support Orders
  • Enforcement of Child Support
  • Health insurance issues related to Child Support

Temporary Spousal Support | Alimony | Maintenance

While spousal support, spousal maintenance and alimony all describe financial support provided to a spouse after divorce or annulment, they have different meanings and applications.

Temporary Spousal Support

The court may order temporary spousal support while a divorce case is pending. Fewer restrictions apply in qualifying for temporary child support than for maintenance. For example, a spouse married less than 10 years may qualify for temporary spousal support, but does not qualify for maintenance.


Alimony is a contractual agreement between spouses where one party agrees to make payments to the other after divorce, under their own terms, for as long as they agree. Because contractual alimony is considered a debt and not an obligation, the courts cannot enforce alimony payments the way they can maintenance or temporary spousal support. Parties may be held in contempt of court for failing to pay maintenance or temporary spousal support.


Maintenance may only be obtained by court order as an award and is not arranged through negotiated settlements.

According to §8.051, " A spouse may qualify for maintenance if:

  • The spouse from whom payment is sought was convicted (including deferred adjudication) for a criminal offense involving family violence and
    1. the offense occurred within two years of the date that the request for divorce, annulment, etc…was filed
    2. it occurred while the divorce was pending
  • The marriage was in excess of 10 years and
    1. The spouse seeking support lacks sufficient property, including property divided by the Family Code (i.e. by the judge) to provide minimum reasonable needs,
    2. Is unable to support himself/herself because of a physical or mental disability
    3. Is the custodian of a child with a physical or mental disability that requires that parent to stay at home with the child (of any age)
    4. The spouse lacks the earning ability in the labor market to provide minimum needs for that spouse."

Maintenance is seldom awarded in divorce, and when awarded, it is designed to be temporary assistance until the spouse can become self-supportive. An exception would be a spouse caring for a physically or mentally disabled child, in which case maintenance could be indefinite.

To learn more about spousal or child support and how the Texas law office of Milissa C. Barrick can help you through a difficult time, take advantage of our free initial consultation. Call our Tyler office at (903) 533-0008 to schedule a free 30 minute consultation, or Contact Us by Email. We hold your communication in the strictest of confidence.

Child and Spousal Support Lawyer serving Texas residents at home and abroad, whether you are in the military or employed overseas.

We serve East Texas, including the cities of Tyler, Flint, Bullard, Whitehouse, Chandler, Longview, Athens, Jacksonville, Henderson, Gilmer, Quitman, Canton, Palestine, Gladewater and Kilgore.

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