Alimony, or spousal support, is a common feature in divorces across the United States, and Texas is no exception. While Texas law allows for the possibility of spousal support - called "spousal maintenance" in Texas - after divorce, there are eligibility requirements for being awarded alimony.
Eligibility for Alimony in Texas
The divorcing parties may agree to spousal support, regardless of the circumstances, but there are specific requirements relating to demands for alimony. The spouse requesting support must first establish their eligibility for alimony. To qualify for alimony, the petitioning spouse must show that they cannot afford to support their minimum reasonable needs. In addition, one of two conditions must apply:
- The paying spouse was convicted or received deferred adjudication for an act of family violence committed either:
- During the marriage but no more than two years before the suit for divorce; or
- During the pendency of the divorce itself.
- Or, the spouse seeking maintenance is unable to earn sufficient income to support their reasonable needs and:
- Their inability is due to physical or mental disability;
- Their inability is due to their responsibility as the custodian of a child of the marriage who needs exceptional care due to their physical or mental disability; or
- The marriage lasted 10 or more years.
If one of the conditions to qualify for alimony is met, the court will then determine the amount and duration of support.
Texas Alimony Laws at a Glance
The following table provides a basic overview of Texas alimony laws in plain English. While the information in the table is helpful for better understanding alimony laws in Texas, it's always important to also read the actual statute when researching laws.
Texas Family Code Section 8.051, et seq.
|How Much Alimony?
The court may only award the lesser of:
- $5,000 per month; or
- 20% of the paying spouse's average monthly gross income.
|For How Long?
Alimony awards are payable for:
- Up to 5 years if the marriage lasted less than 10 years and the paying spouse was abusive, or the marriage was 10-20 years long;
- Up to 7 years if the marriage was 20-30 years long;
- Up to 10 years if the marriage was more than 30 years long;
- Where the petitioning spouse or their dependent child is disabled the alimony may be indefinite, providing the underlying basis for alimony persists.
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Texas Alimony Laws: Related Resources
If you have additional questions about alimony laws in Texas, click on the links below for more information:
Get a Better Understanding of Texas Alimony Laws by Talking to a Lawyer
Whether you're claiming alimony or an ex-spouse claims you owe alimony, alimony proceedings will affect your financial life for many years to come. The assistance of a qualified attorney can help ensure that your interests are represented vigorously. Contact a local divorce lawyer today to discuss how a legal professional can make certain you don't get cheated.