When navigating the complexities of divorce, understanding the specifics of spousal maintenance can be crucial. At The Blacknall Firm, we are committed to helping you make informed decisions based on Texas family law. Below, we’ve distilled important details from the Texas Family Code regarding spousal maintenance.
What is Spousal Maintenance?
Spousal maintenance, often referred to as alimony in other states, represents periodic payments made by one spouse to support the other following a divorce. This isn’t automatic in Texas divorces; certain conditions must be met.
For a spouse to receive maintenance, they must lack sufficient property to provide for their minimum reasonable needs post-divorce and meet one of the following criteria:
- The other spouse has committed family violence.
- The spouse seeking maintenance cannot earn sufficient income due to a physical or mental disability.
- The marriage lasted 10 years or more, and the spouse seeking maintenance cannot earn sufficient income.
- The spouse seeking maintenance has custody of a child from the marriage who requires special care due to a physical or mental disability.
Factors Considered for Maintenance:
Courts consider various factors to determine maintenance, including:
- Both spouses’ financial resources after the divorce.
- The education, employment skills, and earning abilities of both spouses.
- The duration of the marriage.
- The age, employment history, earning ability, and physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance.
Duration and Amount of Maintenance:
The duration for which maintenance is ordered varies based on the length of the marriage and the specific reasons for which maintenance was granted. The amount of maintenance is capped at the lesser of $5,000 or 20% of the paying spouse’s average monthly gross income.
Termination and Modification:
Maintenance obligations can terminate upon the death of either party, remarriage of the recipient spouse, or if the recipient cohabits with someone else in a romantic relationship. Additionally, maintenance orders can be modified if there’s a significant change in circumstances.
If an obligor fails to make the ordered maintenance payments, the court has the authority to enforce its order through various means, including contempt of court and income withholding.
An obligor can voluntarily request income withholding to ensure timely maintenance payments.
Navigating the intricacies of spousal maintenance can be challenging. If you’re considering seeking representation please reach out to us. You can schedule an appointment directly through our scheduling link. We’re here to help.