call us817-498-4105

Offices in Hurst and Galveston

How Alimony is Awarded in Texas

 Posted on February 28, 2024 in Divorce

Hurst, TX alimony lawyerAlimony, or “spousal maintenance,” is less commonly awarded in the state of Texas now than it has been in previous decades. Texas offers only two types of spousal maintenance – court-ordered and contractual – both of which can be difficult to have approved by a judge if the paying spouse does not agree. It is important to understand both types of spousal maintenance, the factors that go into determining it, and how payments are calculated. An experienced attorney can go over the finer details of spousal maintenance and what you can expect during divorce proceedings.

What is Spousal Maintenance?

Spousal maintenance is the court-ordered version of Texas alimony. A judge must consider many factors before determining whether or not it is appropriate after a divorce. Some of the factors a judge may consider include:

  • The financial resources of both spouses 

  • The impact payments would have on the paying spouse’s other financial obligations

  • Whether or not contributions were made during the marriage by one spouse to the other’s education or employment 

  • The education and employability of both spouses

  • Any history of family violence

  • Any history of marriage misconduct

How is Spousal Maintenance Calculated?

To be eligible for maintenance in Texas, a couple must have been married for at least 10 years; that the requesting spouse cannot yet meet their basic needs but are making sufficient effort to do so; or the recipient spouse is a custodial parent of a disabled child who requires more care than they can reasonably afford.

Other factors that determine eligibility include:

  • The paying spouse was convicted of family violence within two years of the divorce

  • The requesting spouse had a mental illness or physical disability that existed while married that limits earning capacity

The court may make an exception for those married less than 10 years if domestic violence was a contributing factor to the divorce. In this case, court-ordered spousal support payments would not exceed five years.

Generally, if awarded, court-ordered support will last no longer than 10 years. Texas approaches spousal maintenance obligations differently than most other states by mitigating its use to maintain unemployment and limiting the payment total to never exceed 20 percent of a spouse’s average income or $5,000 per month. The length of the marriage is usually the determining factor for how long the maintenance payments last.

What is Contractual Alimony?

Divorcing couples that can agree on a need for spousal maintenance can enter a contractual obligation for maintenance payments. This is often considered the preferred method by Texas courts who are more likely to sign off on something when both parties are in agreement. However, if the obligor (person making payments) decides to stop paying, they cannot be held in contempt of court as they would be under court-ordered spousal support. Instead, the receiving party can choose to sue the other party for breaching their contract.

Contact a Tarrant County, TX Divorce Attorney

Hurst, TX divorce lawyer Daniel R. Bacalis, P.C. is readily available to handle your divorce case. Whether it be for child conservatorship and placement, property disputes, or spousal maintenance, our firm can help. Contact us right away for a free consultation to discuss your legal matters at 817-498-4105.

Share this post:

Connect With Us

contact us

Please fill out the form below or call our office at 817-498-4105 to schedule a complimentary consultation.

NOTE: Fields with a * indicate a required field.
Name *
Phone *
Email *
Briefly describe your legal issue. *

DisclaimerThe use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

I have read and understand the Disclaimer and Privacy Policy.

Elite Lawyer badge badge badge badge badge
Back to Top