Once you begin divorce proceedings, the desire to finish and be done with your soon-to-be-ex can be overwhelming. Divorce can be a long process, and even if you don’t have kids, you may still have to deal with your ex after the fact.
Alimony, or spousal maintenance, are payments made to an ex to help support them after a divorce. There are a few qualifications to meet to receive alimony in Texas. However, the state in which you live depends on those qualifications or whether you’ll receive alimony or spousal maintenance.
If you have questions about alimony and spousal maintenance, keep reading to learn about how this process works in Texas.
Alimony in Texas vs. Spousal Maintenance
Texas has a no alimony rule on the books. Texas public policy dictates that a divorce nullifies a spouse’s duty to support the other. In 1995, however, courts decided to recognize spousal maintenance.
Alimony payments are meant to serve as a source of income for an indefinite period of time. Spousal payments are payments on an infrequent basis for a limited time meant to supplement existing income.
Courts cannot order a spouse to pay alimony, but the two parties can enter their own agreement for spousal support after a divorce.
Qualifications for Spousal Maintenance
Either spouse can request spousal support during divorce proceedings. In most cases, women are the recipients of spousal maintenance, but men can also qualify.
To qualify, the one filing must lack the property to provide for their basic needs and one of the following conditions must be met:
- The supporting spouse committed a violent act against the other or the children within two years of the divorce filing or during the proceedings
- The spouse seeking assistance has a physical or mental disability that prevents them from supporting themselves
- The couple have been spouses for at least ten years and the filing spouse cannot support themselves
- The filing spouse has custody of a child that requires physical or mental support
Factors for Spousal Maintenance Amounts
When determining spousal maintenance, Texas law treats all cases as though the spouse filing for support is unnecessary. However, if that spouse can prove they are making strides to be financially independent, the court will determine a maintenance amount.
There are a number of factors that can determine the amount a spouse will receive. Some of these include:
- A spouse’s ability to provide for the other’s needs
- The employment and education level of each spouse
- Length of the marriage
- Assets each spouse brought into the marriage
- Misconduct, such as abuse or adultery
Maintenance amounts in Texas cannot exceed $5000 a month or more than 20% of their monthly income.
Length of Maintenance Orders
Spousal support is for a limited time, but some factors can extend the period of payments. Texas law dictates the length of the payment period:
- A maximum of five years if they were spouses less than ten years and the supporting spouse was abusive
- A maximum of five years if the marriage was more than ten years but less than twenty
- A maximum of seven years if the marriage was more than twenty years but less than thirty
- A maximum of ten years if the marriage was thirty years or more
Keep in mind that if disability is a factor or the spouse receiving payments has custody of children, payments can continue for as long as these factors are present.
Parenting News and Advice
If you are going through a divorce and worry about your livelihood, you may qualify for alimony in Texas. Talk to an attorney to determine if you have grounds to file.
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