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Texas law regarding alimony after a divorce

If you are a Texas resident considering divorce, perhaps you're wondering how much alimony you will have to pay and for how long. Perhaps the first thing you should know is that in Texas courts, the term alimony is seldom used. Maintenance has become the preferred term in the Texas marriage code regarding monies paid by one spouse to support another after divorce.

Unlike some states, Texas takes a tough stance when deciding spousal support. For example, the law says that the court may provide maintenance to another spouse but that it should do so only for the shortest reasonable period of time that will allow the other spouse to earn enough money to meet his or hers "minimum reasonable needs".

Additionally, the law provides the court with the authority to terminate spousal support payments if one spouse decides to begin living with another person in a continuing "conjugal basis".

Here are some examples of the maximum time frame for spousal support payments:

-- Ten years for a former spouse with 30 years or more of marriage.

-- Seven years for a former spouse with between 20 through 30 years of marriage.

--Five years for former spouse with between 10 to 20 years of marriage.

--Five years for spouse who is married for under 10 years, and the need for spousal support is as a result of a domestic violence conviction.

Of course, every situation is unique and your particular circumstances with regards to alimony payments may vary. That's why you should consult with your attorney regarding specific instances. However, the maximum amount under Texas law that a court can award is either $5,000 per month or 20 percent of the paying spouse's gross monthly income, whichever is the lesser.

Source: Texas State Legislature, "Family Code Title 1. Subtitle C, Chapter 8, Maintenance-General Provisions" Aug. 19, 2014

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