Alimony & Spousal Support
When a marriage ends, what new obligations begin? One of the most frequently asked questions in a divorce is whether one party can be ordered to pay alimony to the other. Texas prevents courts from ordering a spouse to make alimony payments. However, the Texas legislature has bypassed this law by creating statutory spousal maintenance or spousal support.
Typically, spousal maintenance is awarded to one spouse based on the duration of the marriage and on that spouse’s ability to provide for their own minimum reasonable needs. Even if a spouse does qualify for spousal maintenance, the court must limit the duration of spousal maintenance to the shortest reasonable period of time and cannot order more than the lesser of $5,000 per month or 20 percent of the spouse’s average monthly income.
As for duration of support, for divorces filed after September 1, 2011, the court can make an award of maintenance for:
- 5 years for spouses who were married less than 10 years
- 7 years for spouses who were married for 20 - 30 years
- 10 years for spouses who were married for 30 years or more
*This article is not a substitute for the advice of a licensed BurnettTurner attorney.
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