Unlike in certain states, it is not common for a judge in Texas to grant spousal maintenance as part of a divorce decree. It does occur, but the person seeking support must provide proof of necessity.
When considering spousal maintenance, a judge examines several factors to determine the amount and duration of support.
Support must be appropriate and necessary
The Texas Constitution and Statutes states that the courts will only consider granting spousal maintenance if the spouse seeking support can show insufficient earnings to provide for minimal needs and:
- The inability is because of a mental or physical disability
- The duration of the marriage was at least ten years
- The inability is because of being the custodian of a child with a mental or physical disability
- The paying spouse engaged in family violence that resulted in a conviction or deferred adjudication
The spouse requesting maintenance must also actively work, such as improving skills or attending school, on becoming self-sustaining.
Factors used to determine maintenance
The Supreme Court of Texas discusses the various factors a judge considers when granting maintenance. These include the marriage duration, health and age of each spouse, employable skills of each spouse, time needed to receive training or education, financial resources available and any history of abuse.
Duration of maintenance
If granting spousal maintenance, a judge also determines when maintenance payments end. Depending on the length of the marriage, the duration may be for five, seven or ten years. A maintenance order also ends if the person receiving payments remarries or cohabitates with a romantic partner, or if either party dies.