If you are planning to end your marriage, you may already know you have to divide community property with your spouse. You may also be eligible to receive spousal maintenance, sometimes called spousal support or alimony. Alternatively, you may have to pay to support your soon-to-be ex-husband or ex-wife.
At the outset of any divorce case, judges in the Lone Star State presume spousal maintenance is not necessary. If one or both spouses request maintenance, however, judges must consider some factors to determine whether to award it or to deny the request.
Spousal maintenance factors
Spousal maintenance is money one spouse pays to the other after divorce. Judges may also order spousal maintenance during divorce proceedings. Either way, the following factors are relevant:
- The length of the marriage
- Each spouse’s contribution to the marriage
- Each spouse’s financial ability to pay for living expenses
- Each spouse’s age,m education, employment history and work skills
Judges may also consider the reason for the breakdown of the marriage, including whether there was marital misconduct. Furthermore, any history of domestic violence may influence a judge’s decision to award spousal maintenance.
Spousal maintenance duration
In Texas, spousal maintenance typically does not last forever. While there are exceptions, the length of spousal maintenance often depends on the duration of the marriage. That is, the longer the marriage lasted, the longer the spousal maintenance is likely to last.
Whether you are eligible for spousal maintenance or must pay it depends on a careful review of both the facts and the law. Ultimately, knowing how the judge is your case is likely to respond may help you plan for your post-divorce financial future.