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How do courts assign spousal maintenance?

Are you facing an impending divorce in Texas and think you may be on the hook to pay alimony to your spouse? Perhaps you believe you should receive alimony from your spouse after you are divorced. Either way, you will want to have an understanding of Texas laws in this area as alimony, also referred to as spousal maintenance, is not always granted as part of a divorce decree.

As explained by the Texas Statutes, several factors play into whether or not one spouse will receive alimony. One of these is for how many years the couple was married. The law outlines limits to support awards based upon marriage duration. Additionally, courts are instructed to provide support for the shortest time deemed possible based on other factors.

Other considerations include the contributions of each spouse to the other's education or job as well as to the home and family. The ability of each spouse to provide for oneself and for any children is also reviewed. If one spouse or a child, regardless of age, has a disability, this could impact a final support award as well. For example, a child with special needs may require full-time parental care which could preclude one parent from working. This may increase the likelihood of that parent receiving spousal maintenance. If there is a history of violence in the family, that could also weigh into a judge's decision about alimony.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give divorcing Texas residents an overview of spousal maintenance and how courts approach these decisions.

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