When going through a Texas divorce, the word alimony will likely come up. You may find yourself wondering, “Will I have to pay my soon-to-be ex-wife or ex-husband alimony?” How long will alimony last? To answer this question, we first have to understand the requirements for spousal support.
Who Can Recieve Alimony?
In Texas, one party in a marriage is eligible to receive alimony if they can demonstrate that they will lack sufficient property after the divorce, and therefore, cannot provide for themselves without the assistance of spousal support. Additionally, several different circumstances must be met in order to obtain alimony.
One reason a court may require you to pay alimony is if you were convicted for domestic violence or you received deferred adjudication for an act of family violence. The act must have been committed within the two years of you or your spouse filing for divorce or during the time when the divorce was pending.
The second condition requires that if your spouse cannot earn enough income on their own, then the court may require you to pay alimony. However, your spouse must need support due to one of the following reasons:
- They have a mental or physical ailment.
- They are acting as the custodian of one or more of your children that has special needs.
- The marriage has lasted for at least ten years or more.
In order for the court to approve alimony, one of these conditions must be met and proven. The court will decide what amount of spousal support is appropriate for you to pay as well as for how long, depending on the circumstances of your spouse’s case.
What is the Duration of Spousal Maintenance in Texas?
The length of time one spouse will be required to pay their ex depends on two things: the duration of the marriage or one of the conditions listed above.
Duration of alimony based on the length of the marriage is as follows:
- Marriages lasting between 10 and 20 years – support may be paid for a maximum of five years.
- Marriages lasting between 20 and 30 years – support may be paid for a maximum of seven years.
- Marriages lasting 30 years or more – support may be paid for no more than ten years.
Regardless of how long the marriage was, the spouse requesting alimony will need to demonstrate the need for support through one of the reasons mentioned earlier. Essentially, Texas guidelines require judges to order alimony for the shortest time necessary for the spouse seeking assistance to become self-supporting.
In cases where spousal support is deemed appropriate by the court, the time that alimony will be required is as follows:
- In cases where the paying spouse committed domestic violence, support may be paid for a maximum of five years.
- For a spouse who is disabled or caring for a child and receiving support, the length of marriage doesn’t matter. They can continue to obtain alimony for as long as they are eligible.
Texas has strict guidelines on the duration of alimony orders. In cases of a spouse having a mental or physical disability, taking care of an infant or child from the marriage, or other compelling reason, spousal support may continue as long as the conditions exist. Due to this, there may be a periodic review of the court’s support order in the future.
Lastly, spousal support may end sooner when one of the following occurs:
- Either spouse passes away
- The supported spouse gets remarried
- The supported spouse starts cohabitating with someone new
- Or the court has reviewed the order or future order