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How long does spousal support last?

Spousal support provides financial support to one spouse after a marriage ends. The intention is to prevent one spouse from having financial troubles if he or she had substantial support from the other spouse during the marriage. It often is an issue in cases where one spouse stayed at home and the other worked, but it may also come into play when one spouse’s earnings are much higher than the other. 

According to the Texas Constitution and Statutes, maintenance payments may last for varying times based on the specific circumstances of your situation. 

Length of marriage 

The court may set a time limit for your support payments based on the length of your marriage. If you were married for less than 20 years, the court may award maintenance for five years. If your marriage lasted at least 20 years or more, then the court may set the length at seven years. 

Earning potential 

The court may also set an end date to allow for enough time so that whoever receives payments can begin supporting him or herself without assistance. This may not be the same time limit as the court would set based on the length of the marriage. 

Judge’s discretion 

The court may also extend support payments for however long it deems necessary. It will often do this in cases where the person receiving the maintenance cannot work or is unable to support him or herself for an acceptable reason under alimony laws. 

Do keep in mind that you can always request a modification of your case if you feel you should no longer pay or if circumstances change. 

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