Are There Limits To Spousal Support In Texas?

In the Lone Star State, spousal support, also known as spousal maintenance, can be quite a contentious issue in divorce proceedings. This financial support is sometimes provided by one spouse to the other after the dissolution of their marriage, either by agreement or court order. However, it is essential to understand that there are limits to spousal support orders in Texas, governed by specific laws and regulations.

Factors Considered In Determining Spousal Support

The Texas Family Code outlines the factors that courts shall consider when determining spousal support. These factors include the length of the marriage, each spouse’s ability to support themselves financially, education and employment skills, contributions to the marriage, and any domestic violence history. Additionally, the court may consider the age, physical and emotional health, and earning capacity of both spouses, as well as the needs of certain adult children.

Duration Of Spousal Support

One significant limit to spousal support in Texas is the duration for which it can be awarded. According to Texas Family Code § 8.052, spousal maintenance is generally limited to a maximum of five years, except in cases where the receiving spouse is disabled or caring for a child of the marriage with a disability or where a marriage is much longer than ten years (and then there are different capped durations). In matters where a child of the marriage or the receiving party is disabled, the court may extend the period of spousal support as long as appropriate.

Capped Amount Of Spousal Support

Another limitation on spousal support in Texas is the maximum monthly amount that can be awarded. According to Texas Family Code § 8.055, the amount of spousal maintenance that can be awarded is capped at the lesser of $5,000 per month or 20% of the paying spouse’s average gross monthly income. This cap ensures that spousal support payments remain theoretically reasonable and fair to both parties.

Eligibility For Spousal Support

Not every divorcing spouse is eligible to receive spousal support in Texas. To be eligible, the spouse seeking support must demonstrate that they lack sufficient resources (including separate property) to provide for their minimum reasonable needs at the time of the dissolution of the marriage. Additionally, they must generally show that they (1) cannot support themselves due to a physical or mental disability, (2) that their marriage lasted at least ten years, or (3) they are the custodian of a child of the marriage who requires substantial care and supervision due to a physical or mental disability.

Modification and Termination of Spousal Support

Spousal support orders in Texas are not set in stone and can be modified or terminated under certain circumstances. If there is a significant change in either spouse’s circumstances, such as a change in income or employment status, the court may usually modify the amount or duration of spousal support within the existing statutory limits. Additionally, court-ordered spousal support terminates upon the death of either spouse or if the recipient spouse remarries.

While spousal support can provide much-needed temporary financial assistance to a spouse following a divorce, there are limits to spousal support in Texas. These limits are designed to ensure fairness and in most cases prevent parties from being tied to one another indefinitely following divorce. Factors such as the duration of the marriage, each spouse’s financial situation, and the presence of any disabilities play a significant role in determining eligibility for spousal support—and the amount and duration of payments. Understanding these limits is essential for anyone involved in a divorce in Texas.

Call Our Dallas Spousal Support Attorneys For Experienced Representation

Seeking clarity on spousal support in Texas? Obtain experienced legal counsel at Orsinger, Nelson, Downing & Anderson. Connect with our Dallas spousal support attorneys at (972) 963-5459 to schedule a confidential case review.

We’re dedicated to helping you navigate the complexities of spousal support and protect your financial well-being. Don’t let uncertainty cloud your financial future—reach out to Orsinger, Nelson, Downing & Anderson today for knowledgeable legal advocacy.