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How is spousal support decided in Texas?

A divorce is difficult time emotionally, but for many, it is also a difficult time financially. Perhaps both you and your partner worked, but your spouse earned significantly more than you. Or maybe you stayed home to care for the children.

Whatever the situation, you are now responsible for your own expenses. Even if you work, it is difficult to maintain your lifestyle. A spouse can receive spousal support in a Texas divorce, but only under very specific circumstances. Here is what you need to know about how spousal support is decided.

Family violence is a factor

If your soon-to-be ex was convicted of family violence against you or your children, he or she may be ordered to pay you spousal support. The conviction must have occurred within two years of when you filed for divorce. Spousal support will usually not last longer than five years.

Marriages longer than 10 years

You may be eligible for spousal support if you were married for at least 10 years. To qualify, you must prove you will be unable to pay for your basic needs. The court will look at these factors:

  • Financial resources
  • Education and employment options
  • Earning ability of each partner
  • Age and health
  • Length of the marriage
  • Assets owned
  • Whether one partner helped another partner earn a degree
  • Who has primary custody of the children
  • Whether one partner was a homemaker
  • Family violence

The length of your marriage also determines how long you can receive spousal support. For marriages between 10 and 20 years long, spousal support typically only lasts for five years. For those married longer, spousal support is provided for a longer period, but generally, it will end. In Texas, permanent spousal support does not usually exist.

Spousal support payments are limited

The court also caps spousal support payments. Monthly support cannot be more than $5,000 or 20 percent of the supporting spouse’s monthly income, whichever number is lower.

If you remarry or the other spouse dies, spousal support payments terminate. Even starting a new romantic relationship with another partner could be grounds for spousal support termination.

You can apply for spousal support in a Texas divorce. However, you must meet some very specific criteria to make your case.

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