Texas law gives family law judges the power to decide spousal maintenance, sometimes called support or alimony. These decisions take place on a case-by-case basis.
These are the factors that determine an appropriate spousal maintenance arrangement when a Texas couple divorces.
Reasons for spousal support
Texas courts will order spousal maintenance when:
- The marriage lasted longer than 10 years and the spouse who has requested support does not have the means to be financially independent after divorce.
- The spouse who will pay support received deferment or conviction for a domestic violence charge against the requesting spouse or his or her child within the past two years.
- The spouses agreed on a fair maintenance arrangement, either as part of the divorce agreement or previously in a prenuptial agreement.
- The spouse requesting support is an immigrant who has sponsorship from the other spouse with a valid Affidavit of Support.
When the court determines a spousal support award, the judge will consider factors that include:
- Each spouse’s income and assets after the divorce
- Each spouse’s employment situation, skills and education
- Whether the requesting spouse could become self-supporting after completing job skills or training
- How long the marriage lasted
- Whether either spouse committed misconduct during the marriage
- The age, mental health and physical health of each spouse
While Texas law does not establish a formula for spousal support, the judge will not order monthly support exceeding 20% of the paying spouse’s income. In general, support will end after five years unless the marriage lasted more than 20 years.