Texas does not guarantee alimony to anybody, but courts commonly award payments to one of the two former spouses.
Alimony is spousal maintenance
First, some facts can help sweep away stray myths and misunderstandings cluttering up the issue.
Texas laws do not acknowledge alimony. Instead, they use the words “spousal maintenance” for essentially the same thing. The choice is not just a matter of political correctness or legal formality.
To many people, alimony might still mean men, because they are men, giving money to their former wives for the rest of their lives. This is not how it works.
The spouse in spousal maintenance can be a former husband or wife. And as the name suggests, they get maintenance supposedly only to help them maintain their lifestyle until they can maintain it for themselves.
Not every spouse gets spousal maintenance
If the couple decides together that there should be alimony payments, the court is unlikely to disagree.
If one spouse asks the court to award them alimony, they need to convince the court that the other spouse committed domestic violence within a period defined by the law. Without that violence, a spouse who cannot earn enough income to meet their reasonable needs must show one of these:
- They cannot do so because of a disability.
- They cannot do so because they must care for a child from the marriage with exceptional needs from a disability.
- The marriage lasted at least 10 years.
Payments last only this long
If the other spouse was abusive, or the marriage lasted 10 to 20 years, the payments may continue up to five years.
If the marriage lasted 20 to 30 years, the payments may continue up to seven years.
If the marriage lasted more than 30 years, the payments may continue up to 10 years.
If the spouse seeking alimony or their dependent child is disabled, alimony can go on forever or until something else changes.