The terms alimony, spousal support, and spousal maintenance are often used interchangeably, but each actually has its own definition under the Texas Family Code. It is important to understand the differences because Texas actually imposes a very high standard to satisfy for any spouses seeking maintenance or support.
Many divorcing spouses are adamant about not wanting to pay their former partners any money when they are already paying them child support. People need to keep in mind the multiple factors a court will look to in determining whether spousal support will be appropriate.
Calculating Spousal Maintenance and Duration for Support
Texas Family Code § 8.001 defines the term maintenance as meaning an award of payments from the income of a spouse to support the other spouse in a suit for dissolution of a marriage. The term alimony is not used in the Texas Family Code, so the only time alimony may be applicable to a divorce case is when the spouses specifically agree to alimony payments as part of their final divorce decree.
The Texas Family Code further provides that a spousal maintenance case must involve a spouse who lacks sufficient resources to cover their reasonable needs and a spouse from whom maintenance is being sought having either being convicted of or receiving deferred adjudication for a family violence crime occurring during the marriage involving the spouse or the spouse's child. A spouse seeking maintenance also must not be able to earn enough money to cover their reasonable needs because of a physical or mental disability, have been married for ten years or more and not have an ability to make enough to cover their reasonable needs, or be the custodian of any child of the marriage requiring substantial care and personal supervision due to a disability preventing the spouse from earning enough to cover their reasonable needs.
Under Texas Family Code § 8.054, a court cannot order maintenance to last more than:
- Five years when spouses were married for less than 10 years and the paying spouse was convicted of family violence during the two years prior to the divorce suit or while the suit was pending, or the spouses having been married for at least 10 years up to 20 years
- Seven years after the date of an order when the spouses were married for at least 20 years up to 30 years
- Ten years after the date of the order if the spouses were married for 30 years or more
Under Texas Family Code § 8.055, a court cannot order maintenance that requires a spouse to pay more than the lesser of $5,000 or 20 percent of the spouse's average monthly gross income per month. Texas Family Code § 8.057 is the state law providing for modifications of spousal maintenance orders.
Contact a Collin County Spousal Maintenance Lawyer
Are you currently in the midst of a dispute over spousal maintenance in your divorce in Texas? You will want to be quick to seek the help of a Plano spousal maintenance attorney at Law Office of Brian Bagley.
Brian Bagley has more than a decade of legal experience and has a strong litigation background, meaning he will not be afraid of taking your case to court. Call (972) 843-7158 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation so we can discuss your case with you in person.