The Effect of Family Violence on Spousal Support in Texas

The Texas Family Code states that a person is entitled to receive spousal maintenance if the person can prove that the other spouse was convicted of or received deferred adjudication for a criminal offense that constitutes family violence. The act of family violence has to have been committed against the other spouse or a child of the other spouse and the act of family violence has to have been committed during the marriage within than two years before filing for divorce or while the divorce action was pending.

An interesting question was posed regarding this provision of the statute; “Does the act of family violence have to have occurred during the two years preceding the divorce or does the spouse have to have been convicted of or received deferred adjudication for family violence within two years prior to filing for divorce?”

The answer is the act of family violence has to have occurred during the marriage within the two years prior to filing for divorce or during the pendency of the case. Also, the person has to have been convicted of or received deferred adjudication for that act of family violence that occurred during the marriage within the two years prior to filing for divorce.

Example: A wife commits an act of family violence against her husband 5 years prior to either spouse filing for divorce. The wife was convicted four years ago of assault pertaining to the incident of family violence against her Husband that occurred five years prior. This act of family violence for which wife was convicted did not occur within the two years prior to the filing for divorce. Therefore, it does not qualify the husband to receive spousal maintenance for the family violence that was committed against him.

Another question I have received is “Does an arrest for family violence enable a person to receive spousal support?” The answer is no. The person who committed the family violence has to have been convicted of or received deferred adjudication for a criminal offense that constitutes family violence.

Categories