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In Texas, alimony is referred to as “Spousal Maintenance.” Spousal Maintenance is a monthly payment made by one spouse to another as a means of financial support. Texas law presumes that spousal maintenance should not be ordered in a divorce. There are a couple of ways to overcome this presumption and have a spouse pay spousal maintenance, but neither is easy to prove.
In both situations, the court must find that the spouse, upon the divorce, will lack sufficient property to provide for his or her own minimum needs.
Additionally, the court must find at least one of the following:
However, if the reason above is because the marriage exceeds 10 years, it is presumed that the request for maintenance is not warranted unless the spouse seeking maintenance has exercised due diligence in trying to earn sufficient income or developing skills necessary to provide for him or herself financially.
If Spousal Maintenance is ordered, the judge may only order what is necessary to meet the non-paying spouse’s minimum needs. This may not be more than 20% of the paying spouse’s gross monthly income or $5,000 per month, whichever is less.
Spousal Maintenance may be ordered for a maximum period of five years for those spouses married over ten years but less than twenty years; up to seven years for marriages lasting longer than twenty years but less than thirty years; and it may be ordered for a maximum of ten years for those spouses who were married over thirty years. The court will only order the length of time that is necessary to meet the non-paying spouse’s minimum needs.