Spousal maintenance: How much is it and how long is it paid?

On Behalf of | Aug 11, 2020 | Divorce

There will be many issues to consider in a Texas divorce. One of the most contentious is spousal maintenance. Each side will have its own perspective. Even in amicable situations, this can escalate into dispute. For couples who are battling over the entire case, it can be contentious. Understanding state law for maintenance is a foundational part of dealing with it.

How is maintenance determined?

Some couples shared their income and assets during the marriage. Others had one party who earned the bulk of the income while the other worked for less or was a stay-at-home spouse. This will impact the maintenance order. The financial ability to self-support will be considered and the level of maintenance will be adjusted accordingly to achieve that. If the receiving spouse has a certain level of skill and education and that inhibits their ability to self-support, the paying spouse will be obligated to pay until the receiving spouse achieves a level at which he or she can gain employment to no longer need that maintenance.

The length of the marriage will be part of the process. In a short-term marriage, the likelihood of extended maintenance is less than it is for a long-term marriage. Contributions to the marriage are factored in. If, for example, a person took care of the household while the other spouse was in school for an advanced degree or started a business, that will be viewed as contributory and could have an impact on the level of maintenance.

The length of time for which maintenance is paid

The duration of spousal maintenance hinges on several factors. Most prominent is how long the marriage lasted. The maintenance can only last for five years if the parties were married for less than 10 years or they were married for 10 years but fewer than 20 and the spouse is deemed eligible based on the law. For a marriage that lasted 20 years but less than 30, the maintenance will be paid for up to seven years. If the marriage was for 30 years or more, maintenance will be for 10 years. The receiving spouse is still expected to seek ways to support him or herself to cut the amount of time for which maintenance is paid.

Legal advice with a family law case

People getting a divorce might have mistaken impressions about how the law handles requests for maintenance. Knowing the criteria to be granted maintenance and how long it will last is a fundamental part of a case. When seeking maintenance or dealing with any other aspect of family law, a firm with experience in these situations may be able to help and should be called for a consultation.


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