Spousal maintenance, the legal term for alimony in Texas, is a possibility, but it is notoriously difficult to acquire in most cases. Even when the courts do award spousal maintenance, they impose strict limitations on the amount and duration of alimony. Short of an agreement between the parties, those seeking maintenance must first demonstrate their financial need. Then, they must meet one of the following requirements:
- The paying spouse committed an act of family violence during the previous two years of marriage or during the pending divorce.
- The dependent spouse’s inability to support themselves is due to a mental or physical disability — or the mental or physical disability of a child they have in common with the paying spouse who requires exceptional care.
- The marriage must have lasted for at least 10 years.
Once eligibility is determined, the court will decide how much and how long alimony will last. Spouses may receive $5,000 per month or 20% of the other spouse’s median gross income per month. The court will choose the lesser of these two options.
The length of time you can expect to receive spousal maintenance depends on the following factors.
- Up to five years for marriages lasting less than 10 and the spouse responsible for paying was abusive.
- Up to five years for marriages lasting 10 to 20 years without abuse.
- For marriages lasting 20 to 30 years, a spouse may receive support for up to seven years.
- Spouses of marriages lasting more than 30 years may receive alimony for up to 10 years.
- When a disabled child is involved, spousal maintenance may be indefinite.
Going before the court well-prepared and with all required evidence improves your chances of getting the spousal maintenance you deserve. A skilled and compassionate family law attorney can help you make the right impression in a courtroom setting.