DOES TEXAS HAVE ALIMONY?
The Texas Family Code does provide for a person to request the Court to order spousal maintenance in a divorce proceeding. However, it is restricted and limited to circumstances as described below.
In a suit for dissolution of a marriage or in a proceeding for maintenance in a court with personal
jurisdiction over both former spouses following the dissolution of their marriage by a court that lacked
personal jurisdiction over an absent spouse, the court may order maintenance for either spouse only if
the spouse seeking maintenance will lack sufficient property, including the spouse’s separate property,
on dissolution of the marriage to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs and the spouse from whom maintenance is requested was convicted of or received deferred adjudication for a criminal offense that also constitutes an act of family violence committed during the marriage against the other spouse or the other spouse’s child and the offense occurred within two years before the date on which a suit for dissolution of the marriage is filed while the suit is pending.
Or if the spouse seeking maintenance is unable to earn sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs because of an incapacitating physical or mental disability; has been married to the other spouse for 10 years or longer and lacks the ability to earn sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs; or is the custodian of a child of the marriage of any age who requires substantial care and personal supervision because of a physical or mental disability that prevents the spouse from earning sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs.
WHAT WILL THE COURT CONSIDER IN DETERMINING SPOUSAL MAINTENANCE IN A CASE?
A court that determines that a spouse is eligible to receive maintenance shall determine the nature, amount, duration, and manner of periodic payments by considering all relevant factors,
(1) each spouse’s ability to provide for that spouse’s minimum reasonable needs independently,
considering that spouse’s financial resources on dissolution of the marriage;
(2) the education and employment skills of the spouses, the time necessary to acquire sufficient
education or training to enable the spouse seeking maintenance to earn sufficient income, and the availability and feasibility of that education or training;
(3) the duration of the marriage;
(4) the age, employment history, earning ability, and physical and emotional condition of the
spouse seeking maintenance;
(5) the effect on each spouse’s ability to provide for that spouse’s minimum reasonable needs
while providing periodic child support payments or maintenance, if applicable;
(6) acts by either spouse resulting in excessive or abnormal expenditures or destruction, conceal ment, or fraudulent disposition of community property, joint tenancy, or other property held in common;
(7) the contribution by one spouse to the education, training, or increased earning power of the
(8) the property brought to the marriage by either spouse;
(9) the contribution of a spouse as homemaker;
(10) marital misconduct, including adultery and cruel treatment, by either spouse during the mar riage; and
(11) any history or pattern of family violence.
IF A PERSON IS AWARDED SPOUSAL MAINTENANCE, HOW LONG WILL IT LAST?
Under current Texas law a court:
(1) may not order maintenance that remains in effect for more than:
(A) five years after the date of the order, if:
(i) the spouses were married to each other for less than 10 years and the eligibility of the spouse for whom maintenance is ordered is established; or
(ii) the spouses were married to each other for at least 10 years but not more than
(B) seven years after the date of the order, if the spouses were married to each other for
at least 20 years but not more than 30 years; or
(C) 10 years after the date of the order, if the spouses were married to each other for 30
years or more; and
(2) shall limit the duration of a maintenance order to the shortest reasonable period that
allows the spouse seeking maintenance to earn sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs, unless the ability of the spouse to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs is substantially or totally diminished because of:
(A) physical or mental disability of the spouse seeking maintenance;
(B) duties as the custodian of an infant or young child of the marriage; or
(C) another compelling impediment to earning sufficient income to provide for the
spouse’s minimum reasonable needs.
The court may order maintenance for a spouse to whom for as long as the spouse continues to satisfy the eligibility criteria prescribed by the applicable provision. On the request of either party or on the court’s own motion, the court may order the periodic review of its order for maintenance. The continuation of maintenance ordered is subject to a motion to modify as provided by The Texas Family Code.