If you’re in Texas and you’re in the process of a divorce, you may have questioned whether you’re entitled to receive, or will have to pay spousal maintenance.
We’ve provided a comprehensive guide on all you need to know about spousal maintenance in Texas.
Post-Divorce Payments: Alimony vs. Spousal Maintenance
First, it’s important to understand there are different types of post-divorce payments. Many people interchange the terms alimony and spousal maintenance, but legally speaking, they are two different things.
Post-divorce payments in the way of alimony, otherwise known as “contractual alimony”, must be mutually agreed upon by both parties of a divorce. Contractual alimony cannot be court ordered.
Spousal Maintenance, on the other hand, can be court ordered. There are specific qualifications and guidelines which must be met in order for spousal maintenance to be included as part of a divorce settlement.
Who Qualifies for Spousal Maintenance?
As stated in the Texas State Legislature, you qualify for spousal maintenance if you can’t provide for your basic needs at the time of the divorce and one of the following circumstances apply:
- Your supporting spouse faced a conviction of being violent towards you or your children within two years before filing for divorce; or
- You suffer from a mental or physical disability that prevents you from being self-sufficient; or
- The marriage lasted for ten years or more and you can’t earn enough income to support yourself; or
- You’re taking care of your child who has a mental or physical disability, which prevents you from seeking gainful employment
How Long Does Spousal Maintenance Last in Texas?
The law limits the court when it comes to how many years it can award spousal maintenance to the spouse seeking support. Texas limits include:
- 5 years if your marriage was less than ten years and if the reason for getting spousal maintenance was due to your spouse’s conviction of family violence.
- 5 years if the duration of your marriage was ten to twenty years.
- 7 years if your marriage duration was for twenty to thirty years.
- 10 years if the marriage period was more than thirty years.
Despite these circumstances, the court decides to limit the alimony duration to the shortest and most reasonable time that’ll allow the spouse seeking support to be able to find gainful employment.
This is unless the person seeking support isn’t self-reliant due to a mental or physical disability or because they provide full-time care to an infant of the marriage, or to a child who has a physical or mental disability.
How Much Will Spousal Maintenance Payments Be?
Spousal maintenance can be as high as $5,000 monthly or 20% of the monthly gross income of your partner, whichever is lower.
In line with the new administration tax cuts and job acts that came into effect on January 1, 2019, all spousal maintenance payments or alimony provided from 2019 forward is not taxable nor can the person making payments take any deductions for it.
Scott M. Brown & Associates Can Help With Cases of Spousal Maintenance in Texas
If you’re planning on claiming or about to pay spousal maintenance in Texas, it’s important to know your rights and how spousal maintenance will affect your financial life. A good family law attorney will come in handy in this regard.
At Scott M. Brown & Associates, we advocate for your best interests during a divorce. Call 281-612-8241 for a consultation. We have offices located in Angleton, Webster/Clear Lake, and Pearland.