One spouse often earns more than the other during a marriage. In fact, it is still somewhat common for someone to give up their outside earning potential to take care of the family. They may forgo outside employment to raise the children or maintain the household.
Unfortunately, those who give up outside employment to support the family at home often worry about their financial stability should a divorce occur. What many other states call alimony is spousal maintenance in taxes. Spousal maintenance involves a court order requiring one spouse to pay the other funds every month because of a difference in their economic circumstances.
Someone preparing for divorce as a low-earning spouse may depend on maintenance to establish themselves independently. Those who earned better wages during the marriage may worry about how those payments will affect their standard of living after divorce. How long does spousal maintenance typically last after a Texas divorce?
Maintenance duration depends on the length of the marriage
Permanent maintenance awards are incredibly rare in Texas. Usually, the goal of issuing a spousal maintenance order is to ensure that someone can acquire the skills and experience necessary to work after some time away from their career.
Generally, if the marriage lasted at least 10 years but less than 20 years, the courts can award up to five years of maintenance. A marriage that lasted more than 20 years but less than 30 years can result in up to seven years of spousal maintenance. A marriage that lasted at least 30 years can lead to up to 10 years of spousal maintenance. The main exceptions to these rules are when the spouse seeking maintenance has a disabling medical condition or is the caretaker of a disabled child.
Can people and maintenance early?
Occasionally, it is possible for someone to go back to court to ask for a modification of a spousal maintenance order or to request its early termination. If the recipient remarries or acquires a high-paying job, that could make them ineligible for future maintenance payments. Additionally, a change in the health or financial status of the person paying might justify a reduction in the amount of maintenance.
Learning the rules that govern financial obligations after a Texas divorce can help people ask for the right support or respond appropriately to a request from a spouse.