When navigating the turbulent waters of divorce, one of the questions that often arise is related to alimony, also known in Texas as “spousal maintenance.” Will you have to pay it? Can you receive it? Here’s what you need to know, based on Texas law.
What is Alimony or Spousal Maintenance?
Alimony, or spousal maintenance in Texas, is a financial support that one spouse may be required to pay to the other after a divorce. This is to ensure that a spouse who might not have the financial independence or the means to support themselves post-divorce is not left in dire straits.
Who Qualifies for Spousal Maintenance in Texas?
To be eligible for spousal maintenance, the requesting spouse must first prove that they lack sufficient property to provide for their minimum reasonable needs. Once this is established, one of the following criteria should also be met:
How Much Can Be Awarded?
There are caps on the amount of maintenance that can be awarded. Generally, spousal maintenance cannot exceed the lesser of $5,000 or 20% of the paying spouse’s average monthly gross income.
For How Long Will Spousal Maintenance Last?
The duration of spousal maintenance in Texas is based on the length of the marriage and the reason for the maintenance. For example:
However, if the maintenance is due to a spouse’s or child’s disability, it can continue as long as the disability persists.
Can Spousal Maintenance be Modified?
Yes. Under Texas law, either party can request a modification to the spousal maintenance order if there’s a material and substantial change in circumstances. This could be due to job loss, a significant change in income, or other significant life events.
Understanding alimony or spousal maintenance in Texas can be complex, and while this article provides a general overview, individual circumstances may vary. If you’re considering a divorce in Texas and have questions about spousal maintenance, it’s essential to consult with a knowledgeable attorney to ensure that your rights and interests are protected.
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