Texas is known for fantastic barbecue, the Alamo and its abundance of crude oil. It is also known to many as a no alimony state, but this is not entirely accurate.
Many Houston residents getting divorced rule out spousal support because they do not believe it is an option. We want you to know that assuming alimony is out of the question could be one of the biggest divorce mistakes you make.
When is spousal support an option?
State courts do routinely award spousal support. However, it is notoriously hard to qualify in Texas. Those seeking spousal support (or maintenance) must prove their eligibility and at least one of the following two factors:
- The paying spouse received deferred adjudication or was convicted for family violence no more than two years before divorcing or during the divorce.
- The spouse seeking alimony cannot earn an adequate income and they either suffer from an incapacitating condition that affects their earning ability, they must care for a disabled child of the marriage or they were married for ten years or longer.
Even when spouses hash out a settlement and agree that one party deserves spousal maintenance, the above factors still apply.
How much can you get and for how long?
Typically judges in our state award the lesser of these two amounts: 20% of the paying spouse’s income or $5,000 per month.
In most cases, spousal support lasts no more than ten years unless a child or the receiving spouse suffers a significant disability. In marriages of 10 to 20 years, alimony can last for five years. In marriages of less than ten years with an abusive paying spouse, support may also last for five years. In marriages of 20 to 30 years, it may continue for seven years. Only marriages that lasted more than 30 years qualify for 10 years of spousal maintenance.
We know how complicated the alimony laws are in our state. We suggest learning more about spousal maintenance laws if you believe you will need support after your divorce.