Certain requirements must be met to obtain spousal maintenance in Texas. It is helpful for divorcing spouses to be familiar with when one spouse may be eligible for alimony and how the length and amount of alimony may be determined during their divorce.
Eligibility for alimony
There are a couple of different ways a divorcing spouse may receive alimony. The divorcing couple can agree to alimony regardless of the circumstances. If the divorcing couple does not agree to alimony, the spouse seeking it can make a request for it. To qualify to receive alimony, the spouse requesting it must first show that they cannot afford to support their minimum reasonable needs. In addition, the paying spouse must have been convicted of family violence or the spouse seeking spousal maintenance must be unable to earn a sufficient income to meet their basic needs for several reasons.
Amount of alimony
The amount of alimony awarded is generally the lesser amount of $5,000 per month or 20% of the paying spouse’s average monthly gross income.
Duration of alimony
The length of time alimony will be paid depends on the length of the marriage. The duration of alimony for marriages that lasted between 10 and 20 years, and included abuse by the paying spouse, can be up to five years. If the marriage lasted fewer than 10 years, alimony may also be awarded for up to 5 years. If the marriage lasted between 20 and 30 years, alimony may be awarded for up to 7 years. If the marriage lasted longer than 30 years, alimony may be awarded for up to 10 years.
Alimony is an important consideration for many divorcing spouses and many divorces as divorce-related issues such as property division and child support are sorted through. Understanding when a former spouse can receive spousal maintenance, and for how much and how long, can be helpful when spouses decide to divorce.