Texas Family Code § 8.001(1) establishes that “maintenance” is defined as “an award in a suit for dissolution of a marriage of periodic payments from the future income of one spouse for the support of the other spouse.” The term maintenance is more commonly referred to as alimony or spousal support.
Maintenance issues can become some of the most hotly contested aspects of divorce cases because a stark difference in opinion as to how much support a spouse needs and deserves. Judges in Texas must consider multiple factors when determining maintenance awards, and key factors in an alimony decision can include the length of the marriage, the difference between spousal incomes, and instances of family violence.
Attorney for Alimony Maintenance in Houston, TX
If you or your spouse is seeking a maintenance award in your divorce case in Southeast Texas, it is in your best interest to make sure you seek legal representation. [firm] represents clients filing for divorce in Houston and many other nearby areas in Harris County and Fort Bend County.
Michael Sydow is an experienced lawyer in Houston and is a Fellow at both the Texas Bar Foundation and the Houston Bar Foundation. You can have our attorney provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call [phone] to set up a free, no obligation consultation.
Harris County Alimony Maintenance Information Center
- Who is eligible for maintenance/alimony in Texas?
- How long do maintenance awards have to be paid?
- Where can I learn more about alimony maintenance in Houston?
Determining Maintenance Awards in Texas
Under Texas Family Code § 8.051, the court can order maintenance for either spouse only if the spouse seeking maintenance will lack sufficient property, including the spouse’s separate property, on dissolution of the marriage to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs and:
- the spouse from whom maintenance is requested was convicted of or received deferred adjudication for a criminal offense that also constitutes an act of family violence committed during the marriage against the other spouse or the other spouse’s child and the offense occurred within two years before the date on which a suit for dissolution of the marriage is filed, or while the suit is pending;
- the spouse seeking maintenance is unable to earn sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs because of an incapacitating physical or mental disability;
- the spouse seeking maintenance has been married to the other spouse for 10 years or longer and lacks the ability to earn sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs; or
- the spouse seeking maintenance is the custodian of a child of the marriage of any age who requires substantial care and personal supervision because of a physical or mental disability that prevents the spouse from earning sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs.
Texas Family Code § 8.052 establishes that a court determining that a spouse is eligible to receive maintenance must also determine the nature, amount, duration, and manner of periodic payments by considering all relevant factors, including:
- each spouse’s ability to provide for that spouse’s minimum reasonable needs independently, considering that spouse’s financial resources on dissolution of the marriage;
- the education and employment skills of the spouses, the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the spouse seeking maintenance to earn sufficient income, and the availability and feasibility of that education or training;
- the duration of the marriage;
- the age, employment history, earning ability, and physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance;
- the effect on each spouse’s ability to provide for that spouse’s minimum reasonable needs while providing periodic child support payments or maintenance, if applicable;
- acts by either spouse resulting in excessive or abnormal expenditures or destruction, concealment, or fraudulent disposition of community property, joint tenancy, or other property held in common;
- the contribution by one spouse to the education, training, or increased earning power of the other spouse;
- the property brought to the marriage by either 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.
Duration of Maintenance Orders in Harris County
State law in Texas establishes maximum periods of maintenance order durations, not minimums. Under Texas Family Code § 8.054, a court cannot order maintenance that remains in effect for more than:
- Five years after the date of the order, if the spouses were married to each other for less than 10 years and the eligibility of the spouse for whom maintenance is ordered is established under Texas Family Code § 8.051(1) or the spouses were married to each other for at least 10 years but not more than 20 years;
- Seven years after the date of the order, if the spouses were married to each other for at least 20 years but not more than 30 years; or
- 10 years after the date of the order, if the spouses were married to each other for 30 years or more.
Texas Family Code § 8.056 establishes that a maintenance obligation can be terminated when:
- Either party dies;
- The spouse for whom maintenance was ordered remarries; or
- The court finds that the spouse for whom maintenance was ordered cohabits with another person with whom the spouse for whom maintenance was ordered has a dating or romantic relationship in a permanent place of abode on a continuing basis.
Alimony Maintenance Resources in Texas
Texas Family Code | Chapter 8. Maintenance — View the chapter of the Texas Family Code governing maintenance in divorce cases. You can learn more about amount of maintenance requirements. The statutes also cover termination, modification, and enforcement of maintenance orders.
Texas Maintenance (Alimony) Calculator — Use this website to calculate an estimated maintenance payment. You simply enter each spouse’s yearly gross income and the number of years the marriage lasted. The calculation represents the maximum amount and duration that a Texas court may order, not necessarily the amount that will be awarded.
Find an Alimony Maintenance Lawyer in Houston, TX
Are you or your spouse seeking a maintenance award as part of a divorce in Southeast Texas? You will want to contact [firm] as soon as possible.
Houston attorney Michael Sydow helps individuals in communities all over Fort Bend County and Harris County.
Call [phone] or submit an online contact form to have our lawyer review your case and help you understand all of your legal options during a free initial consultation.