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Can You Get Permanent Alimony in Texas?

 Posted on October 06, 2023 in Divorce

San Antonio divorce lawyerTexas law takes a restrictive approach to awarding spousal maintenance or alimony after a divorce compared to other states. Permanent lifetime alimony used to be extremely rare. However, recent legislative changes have made it possible for some spouses in Texas to obtain longer term spousal support in certain circumstances. A Texas lawyer can help you determine if this is the best option for your situation.

Spousal Maintenance in Texas

The Texas Family Code provides for court-ordered spousal maintenance payments in some divorces to help provide financial support for an ex-spouse transitioning to self-sufficiency. Possible scenarios include temporary support ordered during divorce proceedings, short-term rehabilitative maintenance, contractual alimony agreed to mutually by the spouses in a settlement, and ongoing maintenance ordered by the judge after the divorce is finalized.

Requirements for Court-Ordered Spousal Support

For a spouse to be granted continuing post-divorce spousal support by the court, specific criteria must be proven, including:

  • The marriage lasted 10 or more years.
  • The petitioning spouse lacks adequate income or property to meet reasonable needs.
  • The petitioning spouse cannot earn sufficient income because of a mental or physical disability or lack of skills and education.
  • The petitioner needs to provide excess care for a disabled child impacting ability to work.
  • A finding of domestic violence by the other spouse within two years of filing also makes one eligible.

Duration Limitations on Court-Ordered Alimony

If the criteria are met and the court awards ongoing maintenance, the maximum duration will be limited based on the length of the marriage:

  • Maintenance is capped at five years for marriages lasting 10-20 years.
  • For marriages lasting 20+ years, maintenance is capped at seven years.
  • For marriages lasting 25+ years, maintenance is capped at 10 years.

So, apart from very rare exceptions, permanent lifetime alimony is not an option under the Texas Family Code. The intention is short or medium-term support to aid transition.

Scenarios Where Permanent Alimony May Apply

An order of support may not have an end date specified, referred to as permanent support. This type of spousal support will continue until the recipient's or the payor's death. The support will also stop if the recipient gets married again. This is a complex area of law, and the specifics can vary based on the circumstances of each case.

Contact a San Antonio, TX Divorce Attorney

Permanent spousal support is a complex and rare situation. A Bexar County, TX divorce lawyer can help you determine if this is the best option for your circumstance. Call Brandon Wong & Associates at 210-201-3832 to start the process and see what the next steps are.

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