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Who Qualifies for Spousal Maintenance in Texas?

 Posted on June 10, 2024 in Divorce

Blog ImageWhen a marriage ends, one of the most critical issues to address is spousal maintenance, also known as alimony. Spousal maintenance is not automatically granted, and the qualifications are specific. A Texas lawyer can help you determine if you may be eligible for spousal support.

What You Should Understand First

Spousal maintenance is a court-ordered payment from one former spouse to the other following a divorce. The purpose is to provide financial support to the spouse who lacks sufficient earnings to cover their essential expenses. However, not every divorcing spouse in Texas will qualify.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for spousal maintenance in Texas, the spouse in need must lack sufficient property to provide for their basic necessities and meet one of the following criteria:

  • The spouse responsible for payments was found guilty of committing family violence against the other spouse or their child either within the two years prior to filing for divorce or during the divorce proceedings.
  • The spouse seeking support is unable to generate adequate income due to an incapacitating physical or mental disability.
  • The marriage lasted for at least ten years, and the party seeking support lacks the ability to earn sufficient income.
  • The spouse who is requesting is the main caregiver for a child from the marriage, necessitating significant care and personal supervision because of a chronic or psychological condition.

Prove Insufficient Income

A major factor in determining eligibility is whether the requesting spouse can earn sufficient income to meet their minimum reasonable needs. This is not a one-size-fits-all assessment. The court will consider various factors, such as:

  • The spouse’s education, employment skills, and job market
  • The time necessary for the spouse to acquire education or training
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The age, earning ability, physical and emotional health of the requesting spouse, and employment history
  • Each spouse’s financial resources and obligations
  • Contributions by one spouse to the other’s education, training, or increased earning power

In order for spousal support to be awarded, a strong case demonstrating the requesting spouse’s financial need and inability to earn sufficient income must be presented.

Limitations on Spousal Maintenance

Even if a spouse qualifies for maintenance, there are limitations under Texas law:

  • Duration: In most cases, the maximum duration of spousal maintenance is ten years. However, if the marriage lasted less than 20 years, the duration is typically limited to five years. For marriages lasting 20-30 years, maintenance may be ordered for up to seven years.
  • Amount: Spousal maintenance payments are capped at 20 percent of the paying spouse’s average monthly gross earnings or $5,000 per month, whichever is less.
  • Termination: Spousal maintenance may be terminated if the receiving spouse remarries, cohabitates with a romantic partner, or either party dies.

Contact a Galveston, TX Divorce Lawyer

If you believe you may qualify for spousal support or have been asked to pay, make sure you consult with a Galveston County, TX divorce attorney. Every case is different, and the court has discretion in determining spousal maintenance. Call Daniel R. Bacalis, P.C. at 409-392-1511 for a free consultation.

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