Texas courts can order a spouse to make support payments to the other spouse while the divorce is pending, and thereafter, in very limited circumstances when the case is over. The Texas word for “Alimony” is “Spousal Maintenance”. The Family Code provides very a series of very limited rules concerning post-divorce spousal support that require elements of proof which substantially limit eligibility for post-divorce payments of support. The law regarding these payments is complex, and the outcome will be extremely fact-dependent.
The spouse who is seeking spousal maintenance will how to prove that he/she lacks sufficient property, including the spouse’s separate property, to provide for his/her own minimum reasonable needs. In addition, the spouse will have to prove either: (1) a recent criminal conviction or deferred adjudication for family violence; (2) that the couple has been married for over ten years; (3) that the spouse seeking spousal maintenance is unable to earn sufficient income to provide for his/her own minimum reasonable needs because of an incapacitating physical or mental disability; or (4) that the spouse seeking maintenance is the custodian of a child, born of the marriage, that requires substantial care and personal supervision because the child has a physical or mental disability.
If the Court determines that a spouse is entitled to spousal maintenance, there are limitations on how long the spousal maintenance can be ordered to continue. Also, the court may not order spousal maintenance that is more than the lessor of: (1) $5,000 per month, or (2) 20% of the spouse’s average monthly gross income.
If you are going through a divorce and believe that you or your spouse may be entitled to spousal maintenance, you need to consult a family law attorney. These cases are complicated, and you need the help of a trained professional who knows how the court will consider these issues.