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Texas Divorce Issues: Spousal Maintenance
Spousal Maintenance, also known as Alimony or Spousal Support, is a monthly payment made by one spouse to another after divorce. In Texas, the ordering of the payment of Spousal Maintenance by a spouse is not typical. There are only a few situations where Spousal Maintenance may be ordered in a divorce.
If the husband and wife reach an agreement for Spousal Maintenance payments, or “contractual maintenance,” then it can be ordered by the court. The court may order spousal maintenance in cases where family violence has occurred, when the non-paying spouse has a disability that prevents him or her from working, or when the non-paying spouse is the custodian of a child that has significant needs or a disability. Spousal Maintenance may also be ordered in cases where the husband and wife were married for over ten years, and the non-paying spouse can prove that he or she lacks the ability to earn sufficient income to meet his or her reasonable needs.
If Spousal Maintenance is ordered, the judge is limited in only ordering only what is necessary to meet the non-paying spouse’s minimum needs, which may not exceed 20% of the paying spouse’s gross monthly income or $2500 per month, whichever is less. Spousal Maintenance can only be ordered for a maximum period of three years, unless the spouse or the child suffers from a disability.