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How does the length of a marriage impact spousal maintenance?

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2024 | Divorce |

When deciding on spousal support, Texas courts consider many factors. One is the duration or the marriage.  This is important for both the prospective paying party and the receiving party.

Know the facts about marital duration and spousal maintenance

According to Texas law, the length of time a paying former spouse is obligated to provide spousal maintenance for the other person hinges largely on how long they were married.

It will not go beyond five years after the date in which the order was put in effect if the marriage was for fewer than 10 years and the paying party was convicted of or had a judgment deferred for family violence while they were married and it happened within two years of the pending dissolution or while the case is pending. It will also not go beyond five years if the couple was married for a minimum of 10 years but fewer than 20 years.

The order cannot surpass seven years from when the order was made if they were married for a minimum of 20 years but not more than 30 years. It will last for 10 years from the date if they were married for at least 30 years.

Another factor involves how long it will take for the receiving party to become financially independent. The court strives to limit the length of support to the shortest possible amount of time. Exceptions include:

  • The person receiving maintenance is physically or mentally disabled
  • They care for a young child or toddler from the marriage
  • They are impeded from earning enough income to support themselves.

People must prepare for the future after a divorce

Adapting to new circumstances is a critical part of life post-divorce. Knowing how long spousal maintenance will last is essential as it lets both sides know what to expect and what the timeline is to either support themselves or when they will no longer be asked to pay. For these and other family law issues, it is vital to know the landscape and be ready for all eventualities.