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Can You Survive 10 Years…. and One Day?

Clients often ask about alimony and why Texas does not allow for alimony.  The truth is Texas law does allow for the same-type support, but the support is called “spousal support” or “spousal maintenance.”  Because spousal support is a statutory remedy, the court may only award the same if the statutory requirements are met.  To be clear, spousal support is the award of additional money—not part of a division of marital property or child support—and is paid by one spouse to the other for future income to support the ex-spouse after the divorce.  The statute sets forth various factors for the court’s consideration and provides for a spousal support award from five to ten years after the date of divorce. 

To be eligible, the spouse seeking spousal support must:

I. lack sufficient property to provide for his/her minimum reasonable needs; AND

II. one of the following elements must apply: 

i) the ex-spouse was convicted of family violence during the marriage;

ii) the spouse seeking support is disabled;

iii) the spouse seeking support has been married at least ten years and lacks the ability to earn sufficient income; or

iv) is the primary caretaker of a disabled child.

Section 8.052 of the Texas Family Code outlines various factors the court considers in deciding whether a spouse is eligible to receive maintenance.  These factors play a role in determining the amount and the duration of spousal support.  These factors include, but are not limited to: each spouse’s financial resources at the time of divorce, education, and employment skills; acts by either spouse resulting in excessive or abnormal expenditures of community property; the contribution by one spouse to the education, training, or increased earning power of the other spouse; the contribution of a spouse as homemaker; marital misconduct, including adultery and cruel treatment, by either spouse during the marriage; and any history or pattern of family violence.  It is important to have your attorney review these elements when evaluating a claim for spousal support.