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How Does Alimony Work In Texas?

How Does Alimony Work In Texas?

Alimony, also known as spousal support or maintenance, is a highly contested and contentious issue in many divorces. One that’s often difficult for both parties to agree on.

High-earning spouses frequently resent the obligation to pay their ex-spouse for years after a divorce. In contrast, lower-earning spouses rely on alimony to meet their basic financial needs. 

How alimony works differ depending on the situation. One part of that is where you live. Because divorce laws vary from state to state as well as how each state deals with alimony.

In this article, we’ll look at the question, “how does alimony work in Texas?”

How Does Alimony Work In Texas?

In Texas, either spouse can request spousal support during the divorce. However, not all judgments in a divorce case will include an alimony order.

In Texas, the court will only award spousal support to the requesting spouse if they do not have enough property at the time of the divorce to provide for basic needs.

Texas will also only award alimony under at least one of the following situations:

  • The supporting spouse was convicted of an act of violence against the other spouse or their children within two years of the divorce filing or while the divorce case is pending.
  • The spouse seeking alimony cannot earn enough income to support themselves due to incapacitating physical or mental disability.
  • The married couple has been married for at least ten years. The requesting spouse is incapable of earning enough income to meet basic needs.
  • The supported spouse is the custodial parent to a child who needs substantial care or personal supervision due to a mental or physical disability that prevents- the supported spouse from working and earning an income.

As stated earlier, not all judgments in a divorce case will include an alimony order. Divorce laws in Texas begin every maintenance case with the presumption that spousal maintenance is unnecessary. 

However, suppose the requesting spouse has made an effort to earn an income or attained education/training to become financially independent during the separation or divorce case. In that case, the court may order a maintenance evaluation.

How Long Does Alimony Last In Texas?

How long the alimony will last depends on the marriage’s situation. Here are some situations that affect alimony in Texas:

  • If the alimony given to the supported spouse is due to family violence and the marriage is less than ten years, or the spouses have been married between 10 and 20 years, then the alimony may last up to 5 years.
  • If the marriage lasted between 20 and 30 years, alimony might last up to 7 years.
  • If the marriage lasted over 30 years, alimony might last 10 years.

Alimony in Texas will expire if:

  • Either party passes away
  • The supported spouse remarries
  • The supported spouse cohabitates with a third party or is in a romantic relationship
  • The court of Texas says so after careful evaluation

How Much Is Alimony In Texas?

Unlike in many other states, the law regarding alimony in Texas limits the amount of support a court can order. In Texas, alimony may not exceed $5,000 per month or more than 20 percent of the spouse’s average monthly gross income.