When navigating the complexities of divorce in Texas, one of the primary concerns for many individuals is the issue of maintenance, commonly known as alimony. In Texas, the rules and calculations for maintenance are outlined in the Texas Family Code. This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of how maintenance is determined in Texas, referencing the relevant sections of the Texas Family Code.
Eligibility for Maintenance in Texas
Before diving into the calculations, it’s essential to understand who is eligible for maintenance. According to the Texas Family Code § 8.051, a spouse may be eligible for maintenance if:
- The spouse from whom maintenance is requested was convicted of or received deferred adjudication for a criminal offense that constitutes family violence.
- The seeking spouse cannot earn sufficient income due to a physical or mental disability.
- The marriage lasted 10 years or longer, and the seeking spouse lacks the ability to earn sufficient income.
- The seeking spouse is the custodian of a child who requires substantial care due to a physical or mental disability.
Factors for Determining Maintenance
Once eligibility is established, the court will consider various factors to determine the amount and duration of the maintenance. As per Texas Family Code § 8.052, these factors include:
- Each spouse’s ability to provide for their minimum reasonable needs.
- The education and employment skills of the spouses.
- The duration of the marriage.
- The age, employment history, earning ability, and physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance.
- Acts by either spouse resulting in excessive or abnormal expenditures.
- The property brought into the marriage by either spouse.
- The contribution of a spouse as a homemaker.
- Marital misconduct of the spouse seeking maintenance.
- Any history of family violence.
Amount and Duration of Maintenance
The court ensures that the maintenance awarded is fair and just. According to Texas Family Code § 8.055 & § 8.056:
- The maintenance amount should not exceed the lesser of $5,000 or 20% of the paying spouse’s average monthly gross income.
- The duration of maintenance varies based on the length of the marriage:
- Less than 10 years (with family violence): Maximum of 5 years.
- 10-20 years: Maximum of 5 years.
- 20-30 years: Maximum of 7 years.
- 30 years or more: Maximum of 10 years.
However, if the maintenance is awarded due to a spouse’s or child’s physical or mental disability, it may continue as long as the disability persists.
Maintenance in Texas is designed to provide financial support to a spouse who may not have the means to support themselves post-divorce. While the Texas Family Code provides guidelines, the court has discretion based on the unique circumstances of each case. If you’re navigating a divorce in Texas and have concerns about maintenance, it’s crucial to consult with a knowledgeable Texas family law attorney. At Blacknall Firm, we’re here to guide you through every step of the process, ensuring your rights and interests are protected.