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Is spousal maintenance a realistic option in Texas?

Some women assume they will receive alimony, or spousal maintenance, as part of a divorce settlement. They see it in celebrity cases in which the ex-wife has no need of financial support but goes after it anyway and wins.

Unfortunately, this is not the reality for most Texas women seeking a divorce. Although a 2011 law improved the guidelines, only wives who are successful in proving the need will obtain spousal maintenance.

Texas law on spousal maintenance

Alimony used to be much less helpful to ex-spouses before the legislation change. The monthly limit was $2,500 and only lasted for three years regardless of the duration of the marriage. Now, you may receive double the amount per month as before: 20 percent of your ex's gross income up to $5,000.

However, you must have been married for at least 10 years to qualify for spousal maintenance. If you get it, it will last for a maximum of five years. The longer your marriage lasted, the longer your support will, too. Those married for more than 20 years receive alimony for up to seven years, and those married for more than 30 years receive alimony for up to 10 years.

Qualifying factors

Marriage duration is only one of many factors in determining spousal maintenance. Others include:

  • Whether or not you are able to meet your own financial needs
  • How much separate property you own
  • If you or a child you care for has a disability
  • If you were a victim of domestic violence
  • Whether or not your spouse is able to meet your financial needs
  • If either of you contributed to the education of the other

There are many additional factors the court will consider. The complexity of spousal maintenance means it is best for you to consult a family law attorney for further information and advice. A lawyer can determine if you are eligible for alimony and what to do if you are not.

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Attorney Christine K. Lincoln

Christine K. Lincoln offers sound counsel and legal services to protect clients and their families facing divorce and other family disputes.

She will take the time to understand your individual needs and develop a comprehensive solution to protect your rights and interests.

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