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What is child custody in Texas?

In Texas, the legal term for child custody is conservatorship. Conservatorship refers to the legal and physical rights and responsibilities that parents have regarding their children after a divorce or separation. Child custody determinations are made by the court to ensure the best interests of the child are met.

When determining child custody, the court considers various factors, including the child’s physical and emotional needs, the ability of each parent to provide for the child’s well-being, the parents’ history of caregiving, and any evidence of domestic violence or abuse.

Conservatorship arrangements can be established by mutual agreement between the parents, either informally or through a formal written agreement. However, if the parents cannot reach an agreement, the court will intervene and make a custody determination based on the best interests of the child.

What types of conservatorships are there in Texas?

An individual that has been granted court-ordered custody of a child in Texas is called a “conservator.”

There are three types of conservator relationships:

  • Joint Managing Conservator
  • Sole Managing Conservator
  • Possessory Conservator

What is a Joint Managing Conservator?

Under Texas law, parents are usually designated Joint Managing Conservators and share decision-making power over most issues including education and healthcare. This does not mean the time spent with each parent is split equally. A possession order will specify which parent has the right to spend time with their child at what times and days.

In the majority of joint conservatorship orders, one parent will have exclusive rights to decide where a child lives (usually within a certain area). This parent is called the “custodial” or “primary” parent and generally cares for their children most of the time. The other parenting role is referred to as non-custodial parents. Learn about lifting geographic restrictions in Texas custody orders.

What is a Sole Managing Conservator?

In some instances, a  judge may decide that it isn’t in the children’s best interest for both parents to share conservatorship. When this scenario arises the judge will name one of the parents, or if both parents are deemed unfit a non-parent, as the sole managing conservator.


Several reasons may be present in a family that could lead a judge to appoint a sole managing conservator. These include but are not limited to proof of violence by a parent, alcohol or drug abuse, and child abuse or neglect. When a sole managing conservator has been appointed, that individual obtains the exclusive right to make most decisions about the children involved.

What is a Possessory Conservator?

In Texas, if one parent is named the sole managing conservator the other parent is named a possessory conservator. The possessory conservator is granted the right to visitation with the child. The only instances where possessory conservatorship is withheld are in extenuating circumstances where a parent has exhibited a history of violence, drug or alcohol abuse, or child neglect.

There are several rights and duties that a possessory conservator will share with a child’s managing conservator. These rights include but are not limited to:


  • Obtain information regarding the child’s education, health, and welfare.
  • Attend the child’s schools activities, access educational information, and speak with school officials pertaining to the child’s academics.
  • Have access to medical records, consult with medical professionals, and be listed as an emergency contact for the child.


When the child is under the supervision of a possessory conservator it is the parent’s duty to support, care for, and protect the child. This support includes feeding, clothing, and providing the child with proper shelter. Speak with a Texas family lawyer now if you have questions about conservatorship or schedule a FREE consultation to discuss the details of your custody case.

How can I change an existing custody order?

If a court order establishing a conservatorship is already in place, it can be changed by bringing a modification case in front of a judge. Speak with a Texas family lawyer now if you have questions about modifying an existing conservatorship order or schedule a FREE consultation to discuss the details of your custody case.

Do I need to hire a lawyer to help me with my Texas custody case?

You don’t need to hire a lawyer to file or respond to a Texas custody case, but it can be complicated to navigate on your own. It’s always a good idea to talk with an attorney about your situation, even if you decided not the hire one. A lawyer can explain your rights and legal options as they apply to your unique case.

What is the most common custody arrangement in Texas?

There are several options when it comes to making a parenting plan and setting a custody schedule. One schedule that is frequently used is the 4-3 option, with one parent having four days a week with the child and the other parent taking care of them for three days out of the week. The 2-2-5-5 pattern is also often employed by many families. In this scenario children spend two days with each of their parents, then five days in each home. Try our parenting time calculator to see which schedule works best for you.

How do Texas judges make decisions regarding child custody?

When presiding over matters concerning child custody, San Antonio judges use what is known as the “best interest of the child” standard to help guide their decisions. Texas Family Code Section 153.002 states:

The best interest of the child shall always be the primary consideration of the court in determining the issues of conservatorship and possession of and access to the child.

Can child custody orders be modified in Texas?

Child custody orders can be modified in Texas. The state allows for modification if there’s a significant change in circumstances since the original order was made, or if the child is at least 12 years old and expresses a preference in custody. Common reasons for modification include changes in a parent’s job or living situation, concerns about the child’s well-being, or the child’s evolving needs. To modify an order, you must file a petition with the court that issued the original order, and the court will consider the best interests of the child in making any modifications. Learn more about child custody modifications in Texas.

Is Texas a 50/50 child custody state?

Texas is not automatically a 50/50 child custody state. While Texas law encourages frequent and continuing contact with both parents, custody arrangements (known as conservatorship) are based on the child’s best interests. This does not necessarily mean an equal 50/50 split of time. The court considers various factors, such as each parent’s living situation, the child’s needs, and the parent’s ability to provide for the child, to determine the most suitable custody arrangement. Joint managing conservatorship, where both parents share decision-making responsibilities, is common, but the actual division of physical time with the child can vary.

How do I enforce a custody order in Texas?

To enforce a custody order in Texas, you should file an enforcement motion in the same court where the custody order was issued. This motion should detail how the other parent is not complying with the order. The court can then schedule a hearing to address the issue. If the court finds a violation of the order, it may enforce the order by holding the non-compliant parent in contempt, which can result in fines, compensatory possession time for the other parent, or even jail time. In serious cases, law enforcement may also be involved. It’s often advisable to consult with a family law attorney to guide you through this process. Learn more about enforcing a child custody order in Texas.

How do I lift geographic restrictions in a Texas custody order?

To lift geographic restrictions in a Texas custody order, you must file a petition to modify the custody order in the court that issued the original order. In your petition, you need to demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances since the original order was made. The court will consider factors like the reasons for the move, the impact on the child, and how the move will affect the child’s relationship with the non-moving parent. The primary consideration is always the best interest of the child. It’s often beneficial to consult with a family law attorney to help present a strong case for why the geographic restriction should be lifted.

What are CFIs and PREs?

In child custody cases, Child and Family Investigators (CFIs) and Parental Responsibilities Evaluators (PREs) play key roles in assessing family dynamics and advising the court on the best interests of the child.

Child and Family Investigator (CFI) is a court-appointed neutral party who investigates and makes recommendations on child custody and visitation, focusing on the child’s best interests. They gather information through interviews, document reviews, and observations.

Parental Responsibilities Evaluator (PRE), typically a mental health professional, conducts a more in-depth evaluation of the parent’s mental health, parenting abilities, and the child’s needs. They provide a comprehensive report with recommendations on parenting time and decision-making responsibilities.

Both CFIs and PREs assist the court by providing detailed insights and expert advice to help decide custody arrangements in the child’s best interests.

Who claims a child on taxes when there is shared custody?

In shared custody situations, the parent who has the child for the majority of the year (the custodial parent) typically claims the child on taxes. However, the custodial parent can allow the non-custodial parent to claim the child by completing IRS Form 8332. Divorce decrees or separation agreements can also dictate who claims the child, but for agreements made or modified after 2008, Form 8332 is still required. If both parents claim the child without an agreement, IRS tie-breaker rules apply, usually favoring the parent with whom the child spent more time during the year. Learn more about who claims the child(ren) on taxes in shared custody.

What factors into the best interest of a child?

A Texas Supreme Court decision set the legal precedent for the factors to consider in child custody cases as a result of the 1976 case, Holley v. Adams. The factors outlined in this case that are still taken into consideration today are as follows:

  • The desires of the child
  • The emotional and physical needs of the child now and in the future
  • The emotional and physical danger (of one parent) to the child now and in the future
  • The parental abilities of the individuals seeking custody
  • The programs available to assist the parents
  • The plans for the child by these individuals
  • The stability of both parties’ homes and any acts or omissions of a parent may indicate that the existing parent-child relationship is not a proper one
  • Any excuse for the acts or omissions of a parent.

While there are additional factors that a judge may consider, this list provides you with a solid idea of the types of considerations a judge will evaluate when making a custody determination.

What are the consequences of making false allegations in a custody case?

Making false allegations in custody cases can lead to significant consequences, including legal repercussions for the accuser, such as reduced credibility in court and potential charges of perjury. It can adversely affect custody decisions, as courts may view the accuser as not acting in the child’s best interests. Additionally, these allegations can cause emotional distress for all parties involved, strain parental relationships, complicate and delay legal proceedings, and potentially lead to civil lawsuits for defamation. It’s essential to approach custody cases with honesty to avoid these detrimental outcomes.

Are there any residency requirements for obtaining a divorce in Texas?

Texas requires that either you or your spouse must have been living in the state for a minimum of 6 months prior to the divorce. In addition to the state of Texas residency requirement,  one spouse must have also resided in the county of filing for at least 3 months. Filing in the wrong county will result in the dismissal of your case.

Is there a required waiting period for getting a divorce in Texas?

Yes, from the time of your initial filing of the petition for divorce, you will have to wait at least 60 days before you can present the final divorce decree to a judge.

How much does a divorce cost in Texas?

Everyone wants to be careful with attorney fees, us included. Potential clients always ask our lawyers how much their case will cost. Unfortunately, we can’t provide much insight into their final bill, because there are too many factors at play. The most critical factor impacting the overall cost of a case is the degree of conflict. A client’s ability to control the degree of conflict in a family law dispute is sometimes limited. The amount of conflict is often unknown or underestimated.


Many other factors may also impact the cost of a case. Those include poor strategic planning and selecting an attorney based on factors not related to your goal. Since there are so many things impacting the cost of a case, it’s impossible for a good attorney to quote you an overall cost. We can, however, use our experience to provide you insight into how certain factors impact the average cost, as determined by the American Bar Association.


You can learn more about the cost of a divorce attorney in Texas by visiting our fees & costs page. You may also be interested in our calculators to help you determine the costs associated with your unique case. However, for the best estimate on the cost of your case, we recommend speaking with one of our experienced Texas divorce attorneys as they can evaluate the specifics of your case and explain what you can expect. At Modern Family Law we understand the concerns many have with regards to the cost of their case. As such, we are proud to offer our one-of-a-kind SimpleStart™ reduced retainer program to help clients with affording their representation. Learn how you can apply for a reduced retainer.

What are the grounds for divorce in Texas?

Texas allows for “no-fault” divorces, which means neither spouse has to blame the other for the breakdown of their marriage. The petitioner’s spouse would allege that there is insupportability in their marriage, which is defined as discord or conflict of personalities that destroys a legitimate end and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation. Alternatively, spouses can also allege they have lived apart for at least three years on grounds one cannot assign responsibility to either party.

However, if one spouse is found at fault by the court during divorce proceedings then this may be considered when dividing up the property between parties who might provide differing accounts of what happened during your relationship with each other so you might want to include fault grounds in your petition whether you are responsible or not just in case.

The statutory grounds for a fault divorce in Texas are:

  • adultery
  • cruel treatment
  • abandonment
  • conviction of a felony or long-term incarceration of at least one year, or
  • confinement to a mental hospital for at least three years.

(TX Family § 6.001-6.008).

Learn more about the grounds for divorce in Texas.

How is property divided in a Texas divorce?

Texas is a community property state, meaning that courts start with the presumption that all the property earned or acquired by either spouse during the marriage is community property. In most cases, this means 50-50 splits of everything in divorce court. But factors such as unequal earning power and fault from within your relationship can affect who gets what in some cases.

Speak with a Texas divorce now if you have questions about the division of property in your divorce or schedule a FREE consultation to discuss the details of your case.

What should I do if I am considering a divorce?

If you are considering divorce, it is important to take time to evaluate your situation and explore your options. Here are some steps that you can take:

  1. Seek professional help: Consider seeking help from a therapist, counselor, or divorce coach who can provide guidance and support as you navigate this difficult time.
  2. Consult with an attorney: If you are serious about pursuing divorce, consult with a divorce attorney to understand the legal process, your rights, and your options.
  3. Communicate with your spouse: If possible, have an open and honest conversation with your spouse about your feelings and concerns. It is important to discuss any potential issues that could arise during the divorce process, such as child custody, property division, and support payments.
  4. Gather important documents: Start gathering important documents such as tax returns, bank statements, and insurance policies. These documents will be necessary during the divorce process.
  5. Create a plan: Develop a plan for how you will move forward after the divorce, including financial planning and childcare arrangements if you have children.

Remember that divorce is a complex and emotional process, and it is important to take the time to make informed decisions. Seek support from friends and family, and be kind to yourself as you navigate this difficult time. Our compassionate divorce lawyers have compiled a list of their expert tips for when you are considering a divorce.

Can I receive temporary spousal support in Texas while my divorce is pending?

In the event that a Texas divorce involves a financially dependent spouse, the dependent spouse may request a temporary support hearing at the time of the divorce filing. While the divorce is still pending and agreements are being worked out, temporary support can help ensure that both spouses’ credit remains in good standing while protecting their respective assets until an agreement is reached or settlements are made.

How do I obtain spousal maintenance in my Texas divorce?

A court may order maintenance for either spouse only if the spouse seeking maintenance will lack sufficient property, including the spouse’s separate property, on divorce to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs and:

(1)  the spouse from whom maintenance is requested was convicted of or received deferred adjudication for a criminal offense that also constitutes an act of family violence, as defined by Section 71.004, committed during the marriage against the other spouse or the other spouse’s child and the offense occurred:

(A)  within two years before the date on which a suit for dissolution of the marriage is filed; or

(B)  while the suit is pending; or

(2)  the spouse seeking maintenance:

(A)  is unable to earn sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs because of an incapacitating physical or mental disability;

(B)  has been married to the other spouse for 10 years or longer and lacks the ability to earn sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs; or

(C)   is the custodian of a child of the marriage of any age who requires substantial care and personal supervision because of a physical or mental disability that prevents the spouse from earning sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs.

TFC 8.051


Learn more about spousal maintenance in Texas.

How long does spousal maintenance last in Texas?

The length of time Spousal Maintenance may last varies on the number of years married or other circumstances.

  • For a marriage that lasts at least 10 years but less than 20 years, the maximum length of the award may be five years.
  • For a marriage that lasts at least 20 years but less than 30 years, the maximum length of the award may be seven years.
  • For a marriage that lasts 30 years or more, the maximum length of the award may be ten years.

If a spouse is awarded spousal maintenance due to family violence within two years of filing the divorce or while the divorce was pending, the maximum length of the award may be five years.

If the spouse seeking maintenance is unable to earn sufficient income to provide for their reasonable minimum needs diminished due to a physical or mental disability of the spouse seeking maintenance, duties of the custodian of an infant or young child of the marriage, or another compelling impediment to earning sufficient income, the court may consider a longer period of time for the maintenance to continue.

TFC 8.054

Can I date other people while my Texas divorce is pending?

In Texas, parties are considered to be legally married until the divorce is granted. Dating after filing for divorce in Texas can therefore be considered a form of adultery; furthermore, the party’s conduct during the process may also come into play when reaching a decision by the judge.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Texas?

It takes a minimum of 61 days to get a divorce in Texas. It’s important to understand that the more conflict there is between both parties the longer it will take to meet an agreement and finalize the divorce decree. Read our tips for reducing conflict in a divorce.

Can a child decide which parent to live with in Texas?

In Texas, a child may not determine which parent they will live with at any age under 18.  In some cases, if a child is over 12 years old their input for who they want to live with may be considered in court. However, that is only one factor, amongst others, that the court may consider to make the final decision. Learn more about custody battles and the individuals involved in making custody decisions.

Do I need a lawyer to get divorced in Texas or can I file on my own?

Yes, you can file for a divorce on your own. It’s best advised to seek a family lawyer who can help you understand the terminology used in courts and to meet deadlines on time. There are many forms and responses the court requires during the process of divorce and if they are not filed within the deadline it can lead to a dismissal of your case.

Trying to file for divorce on your own can quickly become complicated and messy if you don’t know what you are doing. Since every case is unique, we recommend consulting with a family lawyer prior to moving forward to get an idea of how involved your case may be. Speak to a lawyer now or schedule a consultation.

Can a parent keep a child from the other parent without a court order in Texas?

If there is no court order to determine parenting time either parent can keep or take the child whenever they’d like. The court cannot enforce a parenting plan with no court order in place. Use our parenting time calculator to see what your parenting schedule may look like.

I owned my Texas home before I got married, can my partner take my home?

In Texas, marital property is considered any property purchased after the marriage. Any property purchased before the marriage is considered separate property and goes with the owner during the divorce. However, it does get a little more complicated than that. If the other party invested in paying bills or home improvements then they may be entitled to a share of the property as well. Speak with a Texas family lawyer now to discuss the details of your unique case or schedule a consultation.

What are the different types of Texas family law cases?

There are many different types of cases covered under Texas family law:

  • Divorce w/ or w/o children
  • Allocation of Parental Responsibilities
  • Child Support / Spousal Support
  • Adoption
  • Domestic Violence Restraining Order
  • Child Protection Services
  • Paternity
  • Grandparent and non-parent rights
  • Property and Debt Division

Learn more about the different types of Texas family law cases.

Can I still receive child support even if I wasn't married to the other parent?

Yes, the custodial parent is eligible to receive child support even though the parents were not married. Child support is the financial responsibility of a parent for the child regardless of the party’s relationship status or living arrangements. Learn how child support is calculated in Texas.

Are conservatorship and custody the same thing?

In Texas, the term “conservatorship” is used rather than “custody”. There are sole managing conservatorship and joint managing conservatorships which basically means one is a custodial parent and the other is a non-custodial parent. These types of conservatorship can either be agreed upon by both parties or be put in place by a court order.

How do you change a divorce agreement?

A divorce agreement can be changed by filing a modification of the agreement, this is considered a Post Decree Modification. A Post Decree Modification can be filed when there are substantial changes in a party’s circumstances. This can include parenting time, visitation, child, and spousal support. Speak to one of our Texas family lawyers today about your post-decree modification.

What factors does the court consider for custody agreements?

The court always takes the child’s best interest into consideration when making the final decision regarding parental responsibilities. These are a few of the factors considered:

  • Child’s living arrangement
  • Reports of child abuse or neglect,
  • The well-being of the child while with the parent,
  • Any physical or mental health issues that would prevent the parent from taking care of the child.

When do child support payments end in Texas?

In Texas, A noncustodial parent is required to pay child support until the child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school. In some instances, the court may order child support for an indefinite period. This can be the case if the child is physically or mentally disabled and requires long-term care. Child support can also end if the child marries, enlists in the military, or becomes legally emancipated. Some divorce settlements outline that the paying parent will agree to continue supporting a child through college. If you have questions about your child support agreement speak to one of our Texas family lawyers today!

How is child support paid in Texas?

Child support orders in Texas contain an income withholding order (IWO) that requires the paying parent’s employer to withhold the child support amount from the paying parent’s paycheck. The withheld funds are then sent to the state child support enforcement agency or a local registry. In turn, the agency will send payments to the recipient parent. When payments go through an agency it allows for there to be a record that payments were made.

Parents that are self-employed are required to make payments directly. Learn about failing to pay child support in Texas.

Can I go to jail for not paying child support in Texas?

Texas law does not take failure to pay child support lightly. Going to jail is a very real possibility for parents that fail or refuse to make their support payments. Not following a court order to pay child support can lead to a contempt of court judgment carrying a penalty of up to 6 months in jail. Texas Penal Code Sec. 25.05 outlines criminal nonsupport which is a state felony offense that can lead to a sentence of 6 months to 2 years in jail.

This statute states “An individual commits an offense if the individual intentionally or knowingly fails to provide support for the individual’s child younger than 18 years of age, or for the individual’s child who is the subject of a court order requiring the individual to support the child.

The Texas Attorney General even has a webpage dedicated to listing parents who are delinquent on their child support payments. The page includes the names, number of children, and amount owed by child support evaders.

If my ex doesn't let me see my children, am I still required to make support payments?

Yes, Texas law is clear that you are required to pay your support, even if the other parent denies visitation. The court will hold you in contempt for failure to pay. This is because in Texas child support and child visitation are treated separately. If you are being denied access to your children by your ex you should speak to one of our Texas family lawyers about pursuing a custody enforcement action.

Do I have to pay any unpaid support after my child legally becomes an adult?

One might think that once a child legally becomes an adult they are no longer liable for unpaid child support payments. This is incorrect. The state can still go after any unpaid child support. These payments will even increase over time as the state also charges interest on late payments.

How is child support calculated in Texas?

In 1989, Texas Legislators introduced statutory “guideline child support”. This set the percentage of net resources an obligor has to pay based on the total number of children that the obligor has an obligation to legally support, and the number of children involved in the current case.  That percentage is then applied to the individual’s net resources.  The same guidelines for child support are still in effect today. 

The calculation of child support in Texas is a 5-Step Process:

1. Identify all sources of income of the individual ordered to pay child support.

2. Deduct all qualified items to determine net resources.

3. Determine the proper percentage for guideline support.

4. Evaluate additional factors that may allow for a deviation from guidelines.

5. Determine whether an automatic reduction in child support is applicable.

Read the details of each step in determining Texas child support payments or try our Texas child support calculator to get an idea of what your payments might look like.

Can I change the amount of child support I pay or recieve?

The amount of child support can only be changed through a court order. Either parent is able to request a modification of a child support order if their circumstances have changed. These changes can include becoming ill and unable to work, receiving a new higher-paying job, or loss of employment. Whatever the reason, the individual asking for a modification to court-ordered child support will need to show that circumstances have substantially changed in order to justify a modification to payments. Only the court can change the amount of child support owed.

Speak with one of our experienced Texas family lawyers today if you have questions concerning a child support modification.

How often are child support payments made?

How often child support payments are made is up to the discretion of the court. Sometimes, bi-weekly or monthly payments are ordered depending on each parent’s financial situation and children’s needs. However, judges can use more creative methods such as lump-sum payments or annuity purchases in order to make sure that the children get what they need with their parent’s finances available. Normally payment frequency depends on how often the non-custodial parent receives their paycheck as the payments are automatically withdrawn.

What should I do if I am having trouble paying child support?

If you are having trouble making your full child support payment, it is important to pay as much as you can toward your obligation every month. Unpaid child support has a 6% interest rate so it is important to pay as much as you can and consult with the child support division so they can work with you towards a resolution. It is important to remember that it is always better to pay something, rather than nothing.

Am I required to pay child support if I myself am a minor?

In Texas, being under 18 years of age does not waive one’s responsibility to financially support their children. Once a court order for child support is in place you are required to pay regardless of your age.

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.

View our top 10 things you should know about Texas alimony payments.

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 for 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 monetary 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.

View our top 10 things to know about Texas alimony payments.

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.

Our Texas Office Locations

Austin Office

8701 N Mopac Expy Suite 105,
Austin, TX 78759

San Antonio Office

70 NE Interstate 410 Loop Suite 700,
San Antonio, TX 78216

Dallas Office

7557 Rambler Rd #965,
Dallas, TX 75231


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