Spousal Support (Alimony) in Texas
Spousal maintenance (commony referred to as alimony) is designed to help a financially dependent spouse transition into a more independent lifestyle. Generally, the spouse seeking maintenance must have been married to the other spouse for 10 years or longer and lack the ability to earn sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs. A spouse is not eligible for spousal maintenance unless the spouse seeking maintenance will lack sufficient property, including the spouse’s separate property, upon divorce to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs.
Duration And Amount Of Support
The court is to keep the maintenance order to the shortest reasonable period that allows the asking spouse to earn “sufficient income” to provide for their minimum reasonable needs.
- If the spouses have been married to each other for less than 10 years and the spouse is eligible due to family violence, the spouse may receive maintenance up to five years.
- If the spouses were married to each other for at least 10 years but not more than 20 years, the spouse may receive maintenance up to five years.
- If the spouses were married to each other for at least 20 years but not more than 30 years, the spouse may receive maintenance up to seven years.
- If the spouses were married to each other for 30 years or more, the spouse seeking maintenance may receive maintenance up to 10 years.
However, the above periods can be extended if the receiving spouse’s ability to provide for their minimum reasonable needs is substantially or totally diminished because of a physical or mental disability, or because the spouse is the custodian of an infant or young child of the marriage, or another compelling impediment that hinders them from earning “sufficient income” to meet the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs.
The maximum amount of monthly maintenance has increased to $5,000 or 20 percent of the paying spouse’s gross earnings, whichever is less. “Gross income” is defined in a manner similar to the caculation used for child suport.
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