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Alimony in Texas: How does it work?

If there is a significant difference between your and your spouse's ability to earn a living, there's a chance that the court will award alimony in your divorce process. These alimony payments could be essential to the lesser-moneyed spouse, who might have become financially dependent on the spouse who earns more of an income.

If there is an alimony award in a particular divorce case, there will usually be a limit to the amount of alimony and length of the payments.

Limitations on the amount of alimony

Limitations placed on the amount of alimony in Texas are (1) a maximum of $5,000 a month or (2) a maximum of 20 percent of the paying spouse's monthly earnings -- whichever is less.

Limitations on the time period of alimony

Here is how courts will usually determine the length of time the moneyed spouse should pay alimony:

  • If the marriage was under 10 years in length and the paying spouse was abusive to the lesser-moneyed spouse, alimony payments could endure for as long as five years.
  • If the marriage lasted between 10 and 20 years in length, the alimony period could be as many as five years.
  • If the marriage was 20 to 30 years in length, then the alimony could last for as long as seven years.
  • If the marriage was over 30 years in length, then the alimony could last as long as 10 years.
  • If the spouses have a dependent child with a disability, the alimony payments could be indefinite as long as the basis for alimony payments continues. If, for example, the receiving spouse increases his or her financial status, it might later serve to disqualify him or her from continuing to receive alimony.

Is alimony a factor in your divorce?

If alimony is a consideration in your divorce process, regardless of whether you could be the paying spouse or the receiving spouse, you might want to learn more about Texas alimony laws and how courts make decisions about awarding alimony. This knowledge will assist you in protecting your financial rights during the process of dissolving your marriage.

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