Alimony is called spousal maintenance in Texas and courts don’t really want to award spousal maintenance in most cases. There are only a few instances when a court in Texas will award spousal support and it will always be for a set amount of time and for a set amount of money that will not exceed $5,000 or 20% of gross income, whichever is lesser. The court will order spousal maintenance in four situations.
1) if spouse has been convicted or received deferred adjudication for family violence crime within two years of filing divorce or while the divorce is pending
2) marriage has lasted 10 years and spouse lacks sufficient property or income to provide for her reasonable needs AND is either a) disabled or b) primary caretaker of a disabled child, or c) lacks earning ability to provide for his or her minimum reasonable needs
Factors for “lacking earning ability” – 1) financial resources available to each party once their property is divided by the court, 2) education and employment skills of the spouses, 3) the time necessary to obtain sufficient education or training to enable the spouse to earn sufficient income, 4) the availability and feasibility of such training, 5)duration of marriage, 6) the spouse’s health and age, and 7) how the spouses treated each other.
3) parties agree that spousal maintenance be payable for a certain time period, and
4) if a spouse is a sponsored immigrant, he or she could enforce the Affidavit of Support executed by the other spouse and request that the Court order the sponsor to provide the immigrant spouse 125% of Fed. Poverty Guidelines until the immigrant spouse becomes citizen or has earned 40 credits of work history
The length of spousal maintenance will be determined by the length of the marriage in most cases. It will last a maximum of 5 years for a marriage lasting 10 – 20 years or with the family violence crime conviction. It will last a maximum of 7 years for a marriage lasting 20 – 30 years. It will last a maximum of 10 years for a marriage lasting more than 30 years. It could be indefinite for a spouse unable to earn sufficient income due to a disability or being the caretaker of disabled child.
Any spousal maintenance order can terminate at the end of award time period, death of either spouse, remarriage of spouse receiving support, or may terminate if Court finds spouse living with another person whom they have a romantic relationship with.