Though the term alimony is thrown about in discussions regarding the end of a marriage in Texas, the proper term for the concept in Texas is known as spousal maintenance. Unlike in most other states, it is of limited duration and is only ordered for as long as it takes the receiving spouse to acquire either education or employment that would allow the spouse to become independent.
If a marriage lasted less than 10 years, then the court will give an order for maintenance for no longer than five years if the giving spouse committed an act of family violence. Other than this, a spouse cannot receive maintenance if the marriage had not lasted 10 years before the divorce took place. However, if the marriage lasted between 10 and 20 years, then the court will grant maintenance for no more than five years.
If the marriage lasted between 20 and 30 years, the courts can grant an order for no more than seven years and 10 years if the marriage lasted 30 years. Regardless of the circumstances, courts must limit maintenance to the shortest reasonable time that allows the receiving spouse to begin earning enough to meet their basic needs, unless if the receiving spouse has some form of disability or has to take care of infants or young children.
Though it may seem straightforward, duration of the marriage is not the only factor to be considered for spousal maintenance. There are other things that are important, such as considering various factors that help determine how much spousal maintenance should be awarded. An experienced attorney may be able to guide Texas residents through the process.
Source: Family Code, “Chapter 8,” Accessed on Dec. 8, 2015