Spousal Maintenance (Alimony) Under Texas Law
The Texas Family Code, Chapter 8, provides for spousal maintenance (more commonly known as ‘alimony’) to be paid by one spouse, called the obligor, to another spouse, called the obligee. Pursuant to the statute, however, spousal maintenance is not unconditional.
Alimony can only be paid in Texas under any of the three following circumstances:
- A marriage lasted for more than 10 years,
- The spouse requesting maintenance is unemployable because of a lack of job skills due to a physical or mental disability, or,
- The spouse requesting maintenance is responsible for the care of a mentally or physically disabled child of that marriage.
The statute concerning alimony in Texas was originally passed in 1997, and it remained unchanged for 14 years. In 2011, the statute was amended to increase the time period that a spouse could be entitled to receive spousal maintenance, and also added a requirement that a marriage had to last for at least 10 years in order for one to qualify. Marriages lasting from 10 to 20 years are now capped at a five year maximum time period that one can receive spousal maintenance. For marriages lasting 20 to 30 years, the maximum time one can receive alimony is now seven years, and for those lasting more than 30 years, maintenance is capped at 10 years.
However, in situations where the spouse from whom alimony is being sought was convicted of, or received deferred adjudication, for a criminal offense involving family violence, the 10-year marriage requirement doesn’t apply.
The maximum amount of spousal maintenance that can be received is $5,000 per month. This figure represents 20% of the obligor’s gross income or $5,000, whichever is less.
Some factors considered by Texas courts when determining eligibility for spousal maintenance include:
- The ability of each spouse to provide for their needs independently of the other following a divorce.
- The age, education, employment history, earning ability and the physical and emotional condition of the spouse requesting support.
- The length of the marriage.
- Acts by either spouse that caused the excessive expenditure, destruction, concealment or fraudulent disposition of property of the marriage.
- The contribution to the education, training and potential earning capacity of the other spouse.
- Cruel and unusual treatment or marital misconduct, including adultery during marriage.
If you, a friend or family member are going through a divorce, or you were already divorced and are seeking continuing spousal maintenance, you should seek the advice of an attorney experienced in handling family law matters.
San Antonio family law attorney Allan R. Manka has more than 40 years of experience practicing family law, and has a sterling reputation with the judiciary and his peers for his commitment to those he represents. His law practice is devoted exclusively to helping clients with family law matters, including divorce, property distribution, spousal maintenance, child custody and support, paternity, prenuptial and post nuptial agreements, division of retirement benefits and military family law issues.
Attorney Manka and his law firm have helped many clients in San Antonio and the surrounding areas of Pleasanton, Jourdanton, Hondo, Boerne and New Braunfels, in addition to serving those at Lackland and Randolph Air Force Bases, and throughout the state.
Contact us online, or call our office at (210) 807-8629 or toll-free at (866) 621-7085 to schedule your confidential, no obligation consultation to sit down and discuss your particular situation.
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