If the court orders you to pay spousal support in your divorce, then you may wonder what types of guidelines the law puts in place regarding support payments. Specifically, you may want to know how much you will have to pay and if the court can order you to pay more than you can really afford.
According to the Texas Constitution and Statutes, the law does set a maximum cap on spousal support payments. The goal here is to prevent support from leaving you in a bad financial position.
The law sets a basic formula the court must use to determine the maximum support payment in your case. The formula is to figure your average monthly gross income. The maximum payment is 20% of that income. However, the court may also use $5,000 as the set cap. The decision is for whichever is lower between 20% of your income and $5,000.
For example, if your monthly income is $4,000, then 20% of that is $800. You would pay $800 because it is lower than $5,000.
You may think there is no way the $5,000 rule will apply in your case because your wages are not high enough. However, it depends on the other types of income you have. The law will consider all of your earned income, including bonuses.
The court must also consider rental income, royalties, interest, dividends and any type of income you receive, even if it is not regular. For example, severance pay, capital gains and trust income also count. If you receive alimony from a previous divorce, that also counts as income.
The court will not count income not yet received, such as accounts receivables, or government benefits. Workers’ compensation payments also do not count as income. So, if you have a complex financial situation, you should make sure you understand exactly how the court will figure your income.