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How does spousal support work in Texas?

On Behalf of | Aug 14, 2020 | Divorce

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. 

Relevant factors

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.