Texas – Spousal Maintenance

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Texas – Spousal Maintenance

My ex and I have successfully mediated everything and no spousal support was requested during mediation. We are now just waiting for day 61 to be divorced. We are going to be officially divorced in 3 weeks. She now wants to have surgery on her foot before she loses my insurance. She has agreed to cover all of the costs that the insurance doesn’t pay. Can she seek spousal maintenance for a disability after the surgery is over? It will affect her

ability to seek employment as she will be immobile.

Asked on May 3, 2016 under Family Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If you and your wife have an official mediated settlement agreement that does not provide for spousal maintenance, she will not be able to come back and ask for it.  Even if she tries to add it, you can file a motion for entry of the mediated settlement agreement, thereby forcing the terms of the agreement in a final decree. (An official mediated settlement agreement is one that is usually drawn up by a mediator.)
If you mean "mediated" in that you worked it our yourselves... and she has already signed off on the proposed final decree, then you should be okay.  Spousal maintenance is extremely difficult to get in Texas.  It is not automatic.  She cannot create the disability and then claim the disability for an application of marital support.  The courts will usually cry foul on that type of decision making. 
You can't really stop her from having the surgery, but do see if you can get her to admit in a text any details that would be helpful to defeat a claim for marital support.  Some details would include how she intends to support herself while she is recovering, whether this is required or elective surgery, and if she has any type of disability policy or benfits through work that will assist in meeting her basic needs.  Basically, you want to show that you she didn't need it... and made an intentional decision to have the surgery because she knew she could handle all of the financial implications.


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