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How Much Spousal Maintenance Can You Receive in a Texas Divorce?

In my last post, I discussed how Courts determine a spouse’s eligibility to receive spousal maintenance in a Texas divorce. In short, a spouse must lack sufficient property to meet the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs and either:

  1. Be a victim of family violence; or
  2. Be unable to earn sufficient income to meet the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs because of a physical or mental disability, or be the caretaker of a child with such a disability, or be married at least 10 years and not be able to meet the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs.

A more detailed discussion of eligibility for spousal maintenance can be found here.

Let’s move on to the next step. Let’s say you have met the criteria for spousal maintenance. It is now a question of how much maintenance you receive and for how long after the divorce. The Court will look at the following factors, found in Section 8.052 of the Texas Family Code, in determining the nature, amount, duration, and manner of post-divorce maintenance payments:

  1. 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;
  2. 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;
  3. the duration of the marriage;
  4. the age, employment history, earning ability, and physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance;
  5. 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;
  6. 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;
  7. the contribution by one spouse to the education, training, or increased earning power of the other spouse;
  8. the property brought to the marriage by either spouse;
  9. the contribution of a spouse as homemaker;
  10. marital misconduct, including adultery and cruel treatment, by either spouse during the marriage; and
  11. any history or pattern of family violence.

Pursuant to Section 8.055 of the Texas Family Code, the Court shall limit the amount of maintenance to the lesser of $5,000.00 per month or 20 percent of the obligor spouse’s average monthly gross income. The Court shall also limit the duration of a maintenance order under Section 8.054 to the shortest reasonable period that allows the spouse seeking maintenance to earn sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs, unless the spouse’s ability to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs is substantially diminished because of a physical or mental disability, duties as the custodian of an infant or young child of the marriage, or another compelling impediment. Typically, spousal maintenance is limited in duration to the following:

  1. five years, if the spouses were married to each other between 10 and 20 years, or the spouses were married for less than 10 years 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 against the other spouse or the other spouse’s child and the offense within two years before the petition for divorce was filed, or while the divorce is pending;
  2. seven years, if the spouses were married to each other between 20 and 30 years; or
  3. 10 years, if the spouses were married to each other for 30 years or more.

However, a court may order maintenance to a spouse who has a mental or physical disability or another compelling impediment to earning sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs for as long as the spouse continues to satisfy the eligibility criteria.

If you have more questions about the duration or amount of spousal maintenance in a Texas divorce, contact me at VernerBrumley. I can be reached by phone at 214-526-5234 or by email at mailto:gbeane@vernerbrumley.com. VernerBrumley’s principal office is located in Dallas, Texas.