1) Can I get temporary spousal support while our case is pending?
Texas courts routinely order temporary spousal support during the pendency of the
divorce (from the day of filing the petition until the day the divorce
is granted) How much is ordered depends on the earnings and expenses
of each spouse as well as which court your case is set in.
Where child support is being paid, the guideline level of child support
is first calculated. Then, spousal support is determined.
2) Am I entitled to spousal support after the divorce is final and if so
for how long.
Where the marriage has lasted more than 7 years, or under some family
violence situations and support is needed to meet the "minimum reasonable
needs" of the spouse, the court may order support for up to three years.
If a spouse is disabled or responsible for a adult disabled child, the support may continue beyond 3 years.
3) Is the spousal support I am paying tax deductible?
The Internal Revenue Code provides that all spousal support payments are
tax deductible by the paying spouse and taxable to the recipient spouse
as "ordinary income." There are certain parameters that must be in the alimony
order for this to apply. Please consult a or tax professional for the
most updated requirements. It is not uncommon for a negotiated
settlement to include the payment of a high amount of spousal support,
often in lieu of a property distribution because such a payment results in tax benefit to the husband.
4) Can I get medical insurance benefits through my spouse's employer after
the dissolution of marriage?
Under Federal Law you might be entitled to keep your medical insurance
benefits under your former spouse's group plan. The Consolidated Omnibus
Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 created what are commonly known as "C.O.B.R.A."
benefits, which are available to the former spouses of people who work
for employers who have 20 or more employees.
In general this law provides that employers must offer "continuation
coverage" for the first three years after the termination of the marriage.
The law further provides that the employer can charge the former spouse
for this coverage, but the charge cannot be more than 2% greater than
what is charged to employees.
After the three years have ended, the law states that the employer must
offer a former spouse the right to purchase "conversion coverage", but
there are no limits on how much the employer can charge for this coverage.
The C.O.B.R.A law further provides that the former spouse does not have
to pass a physical examination in order to obtain the continuation or conversion
benefits. This is significant if you have any pre-existing conditions that
might not be covered by another medical insurance carrier.
In order to obtain your C.O.B.R.A. benefits you have to file your application
with your spouse's employer by no later than sixty (60) days after the
termination of your marriage. If you do not file your application by that
date you will not be able to ge t these important benefits.
If you wish to have your C.O.B.R.A. benefits you must contact your former
spouse's employer directly and request the appropriate forms. This is not
a service that is performed by our office. You must contact
your former spouse's employer directly if you want to obtain these benefits.
Diane M. Wanger,
Board Certified Family Law Specialist
article was adapted from the work of California attorney, Glenn Rabenn, whose permission to do so is greatly appreciated.