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A basic overview of spousal maintenance in Texas

On Behalf of | Jul 15, 2020 | Family Law |

League City area residents going through a divorce know that it can be an emotional and sometimes messy process. One aspect of divorce that often draws a lot of heat from both parties is that of spousal maintenance, commonly known as alimony. After all, one spouse may believe they are owed a certain amount of spousal maintenance while the other spouse may believe they should not be obligated to pay anything at all. It is important, then, to have a basic understanding of spousal maintenance in Texas.

First, it is important to understand that the party requesting spousal maintenance must be eligible for it. In Texas this means, one, that they are unable to meet their minimum reasonable financial needs.

Second, they must show one of two conditions. One condition is that the paying spouse received a conviction of family violence that took place within two years of filing for divorce or during the divorce process itself. The second condition is that the spouse pursuing spousal maintenance either cannot earn enough of an income to meet their reasonable needs because they are either physically or mentally disabled, they are the custodian of a child born to the marriage who is physically or mentally disabled and needs substantial care or their marriage lasted at least one decade.

As this shows, not every spouse will qualify for spousal maintenance. For those who do, the award generally is not permanent, except in certain circumstances. If the award is based on abuse or a marriage that lasted 10-20 years, spousal maintenance will last up to five years. If the award is based on a marriage that lasted 20-30 years, spousal maintenance will last up to seven years. If the award is based on a marriage that lasted more than 30 years, spousal maintenance will last up to 10 years. If the award is based on the disability of the petitioning spouse or the child that they are custodian is, it might be possible in such circumstances for spousal maintenance to be indefinite.

This is only a brief overview of spousal maintenance in Texas, and it should not be relied upon as legal advice. Spousal maintenance is one divorce legal issue that often receives a lot of attention, so it is important that those going through a divorce seek the legal assistance they need to better understand this topic.