Spousal maintenance, also known as alimony, is sometimes ordered to assist
a dependent spouse, to help him or her maintain the standard of living
that was enjoyed during the marriage. Spousal maintenance can be awarded
during the divorce process, after it is finalized, or both, depending
on the circumstances. In some cases, it might not be granted at all if
a judge does not believe the spouse qualifies for it.
How Do I Know if I Qualify for Spousal Maintenance?
In Texas, a judge might grant spousal maintenance if the spouse who is
seeking support will not have enough assets at the time of the divorce
to care for his or her basic needs and one of the following applies:
- He or she has custody of the children and they require supervision or special
care due to aa mental disability, preventing the custodial spouse from
- He or she cannot earn enough income due to a mental or physical disability
- He or she cannot earn enough to income and the marriage lasted for ten
years or more
- The other spouse was convicted of domestic abuse charges during the marriage,
during divorce proceedings, or within two years before the divorce filing
Other factors that will help determine spousal maintenance include:
- If either spouse was a homemaker during the marriage
- The ability of each spouse to provide for their own basic needs
- The employment history, age, overall health, and earning ability of the
spouse who is seeking support
- If the spouse seeking support contributed to the other spouse’s training,
education, or earning ability
- The amount of property and assets each spouse brought into the marriage
- Each spouse’s employment skills, education, and how long it would
take for the spouse who is seeking support to receive enough education
or training to support himself or herself
- If either spouse wastefully dissipated marital funds or fraudulently got
rid of marital property
It is important to note that even after a judge renders a decision on spousal
maintenance, you can request a post-divorce modification if your circumstances
change substantially enough to warrant a change. Both the receiving and
the paying spouse can request a modification.
How Long Does it Last?
No two cases are alike, which also means not all spousal maintenance orders
are the same. Some might last for a decade while others are far more limited
in their timeframe.
Below are the time limitations set on spousal maintenance orders, according
to Texas law:
- If your marriage lasted less than ten years and spousal support was ordered
due to an act of domestic violence, the order cannot last more than five years
- If your marriage lasted between ten and twenty years, the order cannot
last more than five years
- If your marriage lasted between twenty and thirty years, the order cannot
last more than seven years
- If the marriage lasted thirty years or more, the order cannot last more
than ten years
Contact a Spousal Maintenance Attorney Today!
At the Law Office of Kathryn Marteeny, our
spousal maintenance team has over three decades of collective legal experience. If you need
assistance with your spousal maintenance case, you can rely on our knowledge
and insight to help you achieve your goals.
Contact our law office today at (713) 936-2300 for a case review!