Helping Texans with a variety of family law cases, including child custody and divorce.

Navigating Spousal Support, Custody, and Legal Challenges as a Father: A Conversation with Ben Beveridge

by | Dec 31, 2023 | Firm News

Introduction: Caller: Hi, I’ve heard you’ve been through a similar situation as mine, and I’m facing a tough time with spousal support, custody issues, and some legal challenges. Can you share some insights?

Ben Beveridge: Absolutely, I’d be happy to. In fact, I was once a non-custodial parent myself, struggling to see my kids only on weekends. I went to law school to change that and gained equal access to my children within a few months of passing the bar. I believe in parents having equal access to their children, and I’ve been active in the legislature advocating for such rights. Helping parents like you is my passion. Now, let’s talk about your concerns regarding spousal support, custody, and the legal aspects of your situation.


Caller: Thanks for sharing your background, Ben. I’m concerned about spousal support. Can you tell me more about how it works for fathers in Brazoria County and Galveston County, considering cases like Herschberg v. Herschbert and statutes like the Texas Family Code?

Ben Beveridge: Certainly. Spousal support, also known as spousal maintenance, is influenced by various factors, and gender isn’t the sole determinant. To qualify, one of the conditions you mentioned earlier must be met, as outlined in the Texas Family Code. It’s crucial to understand that every case is unique, and we need to evaluate your specific circumstances. We primarily focus on Brazoria County, with its two family law courts presided over by Judge Bulanek and Judge Bradshaw, but we can also assist in Galveston County, where we have the 306th District Court and the Galveston County Courts at Law. These cases and statutes guide us in advocating for your rights.


Caller: That makes sense. How long does spousal maintenance typically last, considering factors such as financial resources, the length of marriage, and health, as per relevant statutes and cases?

Ben Beveridge: The duration of spousal maintenance varies from case to case. Statutory factors and precedents, like Herschberg v. Herschbert, are considered in determining the length. In general, spousal maintenance cannot exceed ten years unless exceptional circumstances, such as physical or mental disability, are involved. We can discuss your specific situation to provide a more accurate estimate based on these legal considerations.


Caller: Thanks for clarifying that. Can you explain the difference between court-ordered spousal maintenance and contractual alimony, while also considering Texas law and your legal expertise?

Ben Beveridge: Certainly. Court-ordered spousal maintenance is determined by the court, following the relevant Texas law. It assesses factors such as eligibility and the amount and duration of payments. In contrast, contractual alimony, as per Texas statutes, results from an agreement reached between you and your former spouse during divorce negotiations. It’s essentially a legally binding contract. If the paying spouse fails to fulfill their obligations, the receiving spouse can pursue legal remedies through a breach of contract claim. My legal expertise ensures we navigate these distinctions effectively.


Caller: I see. What about enforcing court orders for custody and visitation, which is affecting my ability to see my kids as per the court’s orders? Can you help with that?

Ben Beveridge: Absolutely, I can help. Enforcing court orders for custody and visitation is crucial to ensure your rights as a parent are protected. We can take legal action to enforce those orders when the other parent is not allowing you your court-ordered periods of possession with your children. We’ll use our legal expertise and knowledge of relevant cases and statutes to advocate for your right to equal access to your children.


Caller: That’s reassuring to hear. I’ve also heard that you handle appeals. Can you tell me more about that, considering your experience in having orders overturned by the appellate courts?

Ben Beveridge: Certainly. Not all attorneys handle appeals, but we do. If you believe a trial judge has made an incorrect decision in your case, we can pursue an appeal. My experience in having orders overturned by the appellate courts demonstrates our commitment to ensuring justice prevails. We’ll use our legal knowledge and understanding of relevant cases and statutes to build a strong appeal on your behalf.


Caller: That’s great to know. How can I get in touch with your office, Ben?

Ben Beveridge: You can reach out to us at 281-407-0961, and our dedicated team will be ready to assist you. You can also submit your information at https://www.beveridgelawfirm.com/contact/. We’re here to support you every step of the way in Brazoria and Galveston Counties, ensuring you have equal access to your children and the legal guidance you need.

 

 

Qualifying for Spousal Maintenance

Spousal maintenance eligibility in Texas is determined by specific factors outlined in the Texas Family Code. While each case is unique, there are several key eligibility criteria that must be met:

  1. Conviction of Family Violence: If one spouse is convicted of family violence against the other spouse or the children, either during the marriage or within two years before filing for divorce, spousal maintenance may be considered.
  2. Mental or Physical Disability: Spousal maintenance may be awarded if the spouse seeking support cannot earn enough income due to a mental or physical disability.
  3. Length of Marriage: In cases where the spouses have been married for 10 or more years, and the requesting spouse lacks the ability to earn sufficient income despite making diligent efforts, spousal maintenance may be granted.
  4. Child with Disabilities: If a spouse is caring for a child of the marriage with a mental or physical disability that prevents them from earning enough income, they may be eligible for spousal maintenance.

Duration of Spousal Maintenance

The duration of spousal maintenance is not fixed and varies depending on the specific circumstances of the case. Several factors are considered when determining the length of spousal support, including:

  1. Financial Resources: Both parties’ financial resources at the time of divorce.
  2. Duration of Marriage: The length of time the spouses have been married.
  3. Age, Health, and Employment History: The age, health, and employment history of the spouse requesting support.
  4. Separate Property: Any separate property owned by the spouses.
  5. Child Support: Any child support payments being made.

It’s important to note that, in most cases, spousal maintenance cannot extend beyond 10 years unless there are exceptional circumstances such as a physical or mental disability.

Types of Spousal Support

In Texas, there are two main types of spousal support:

  1. Court-Ordered Spousal Maintenance: This type of spousal maintenance is determined by the court based on various factors. The court evaluates whether spousal support is appropriate, the amount to be paid, and the duration of the support.
  2. Contractual Alimony: Contractual alimony is a voluntary agreement between the spouses, where one spouse agrees to pay spousal support as part of the divorce settlement. If the paying spouse fails to make payments, the receiving spouse can pursue legal remedies through a breach of contract claim.

Understanding Alimony and Spousal Support

In Texas, the terms “alimony,” “spousal support,” and “spousal maintenance” are used interchangeably. The term “alimony” is an older term that was historically used to refer to support payments from a former husband to his ex-wife. However, in modern legal terminology, “spousal support” or “spousal maintenance” is the preferred terminology, and it applies to both spouses, regardless of gender.

The Complexity of Spousal Support

Navigating the rules and regulations surrounding alimony and spousal support in Texas can be complex. The court considers various factors when making determinations about spousal maintenance, and it’s essential to have a knowledgeable attorney by your side to advocate for your rights and interests.