Spousal maintenance, of alimony, can be a hot button issue during divorce. For that reason, it is helpful for divorcing spouses to know how spousal maintenance is determined in Texas. Either spouse can make a request for spousal maintenance and the spouses can agree to it if they wish.
Eligibility for spousal support in Texas
To be eligible for spousal support, the spouse requesting it must demonstrate that they cannot support their minimum reasonable needs and either the paying spouse had committed domestic violence under certain circumstances or that they are unable to earn a sufficient income to support their reasonable needs because of a physical or mental disability; because of their responsibility to care for a child of the marriage that requires exceptional care because of a physical or mental disability; or the marriage was 10 years or longer in duration.
How much alimony will be awarded?
The family law court may only award spousal support in the amount of whichever is the lesser of $5,000 a month or 20% of the paying spouse’s average monthly gross income.
How long will alimony be awarded?
Spousal support may be awarded for different durations including:
- Up to 5 years if the marriage lasted less than 10 years and the paying spouse was abusive or the duration of the marriage was 10-20 years long;
- Up to 7 years if the marriage was 20-30 years long;
- Up to 10 years if the marriage was greater than 30 years long; and in some other circumstances as well.
Spousal maintenance can be important for both the requesting spouse and the paying spouse. Because of its level of importance, and the amount and duration that can be awarded, it is beneficial for spouses to be familiar with the specifics of how and when spousal maintenance may be awarded in Texas during divorce.