Frequently Asked Questions About Spousal Maintenance in Texas
How much alimony can I expect to receive or pay in my Texas divorce?
In Texas, alimony is referred to as spousal maintenance. The maximum spousal maintenance payment currently allowed in Texas is $5,000 per month or 20 percent of the paying spouse’s average monthly gross income, whichever is less.
Try our Texas spousal maintenance calculator to get an idea of what your payments may look like.
How long do you have to be married to receive alimony in Texas?
Typical qualifications for alimony in Texas are that the marriage must have lasted at least ten years, and the person requesting support, known as the obligee, is unable to earn enough to meet basic needs. Some other less common requirements include a family violence conviction within the last two years of being responsible for caring for a disabled child who requires constant care.
How long do spousal maintenance payments last after a Texas divorce?
In Texas, there are limits on the length of time that spousal maintenance can be ordered. Spousal maintenance payments cannot last more than five years if the couple has been married 10 years, seven years if they have been together for 20, and 10 years if they’ve had a marriage of 30 or more years. Ultimately, the court has complete discretion over the duration that spousal maintenance is to be paid.
Is it hard to qualify for spousal maintenance in Texas?
If you are seeking spousal maintenance in a Texas divorce, the court has to determine that your reasonable needs will not be met post-divorce. The statute does not allow an award of maintenance sufficient enough so that you can meet your current standard of living. Generally speaking, those minimal reasonable needs include shelter over your head, transportation, and food on the table.
Can the amount of spousal maintenance payments be changed in Texas?
Yes, the amount paid in spousal maintenance can be modified by the court. To modify spousal maintenance, the party filing the modification must show a material and substantial change in circumstance that occurred after the date of the order or decree, relating to either party or to the child of the marriage.
Reach out to one of our experienced Texas divorce lawyers today if you have questions about filing for a spousal maintenance modification
What happens if my former spouse doesn't pay my spousal maintenance?
If your former spouse does not pay the court-ordered Spousal Maintenance, it is enforceable as a court order. Therefore, to enforce Spousal Maintenance, you may file a Motion to Enforce, ask for a money judgment, ask for an order or writ of withholding, or get a Qualified Domestic Relations Order. In some cases, the Court may also enforce the order for Spousal Maintenance by contempt.
If you are facing an issue where your ex isn’t making spousal maintenance payments you should speak to one of our Texas divorce attorneys to review your options.
Is spousal support different than spousal maintenance?
Yes, spousal maintenance is a court-ordered payment to your former spouse following a divorce. Factors such as the length of your marriage and the difference in earnings between former spouses all contribute to the amount of spousal maintenance a Judge may award. Texas, unlike other states, is distinctive as the law limits the amount of spousal maintenance that can be awarded to a spouse.
On the other hand, spousal support (sometimes referred to as contractual alimony) is a contractual obligation that would not be ordered by the Court. To get Spousal Support, you and your spouse must agree to such provisions in your final divorce documents and from there, it becomes a contractual obligation. The amount and duration for which spousal support is received in Texas are not limited by the court in the way spousal maintenance is.
Speak with one of our experienced Texas family lawyers today if you have questions concerning spousal support or spousal maintenance.
How will I receive my spousal maintenance payments?
If spousal maintenance is ordered, the court will typically enter an order directing the paying spouse’s employer to withhold the required amount and remit it to the spouse receiving the payment.
Is it possible to receive financial support during the divorce proceedings?
Yes, Texas does allow for temporary spousal support to be awarded during divorce proceedings. If one spouse makes less money than the other, a judge may award temporary spousal support on a temporary basis. Doing so protects assets from creditors when one party cannot afford payments on those assets.
Will I stop receiving spousal maintenance if I remarry?
Yes, upon remarriage spousal maintenance will no longer be awarded to the spouse receiving the payments.
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