The court may order alimony, or spousal maintenance, as it is referred to in Texas, if the duration of the marriage is 10 years or longer and the spouse seeking maintenance lacks sufficient property, including property distributed to the spouse to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs, and the spouse seeking maintenance:
- Is unable to support himself/herself through appropriate employment because of an incapacitating physical or mental disability;
- Is the custodian of a child of the marriage who requires substantial care and personal supervision because of a physical or mental disability; or,
- Clearly lacks earning ability in the labor market adequate to provide support for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs.
The court also may order spousal maintenance if a spouse was convicted of or received deferred adjudication for a criminal offense that also constitutes an act of family violence and the offense occurred within two years before the date on which a divorce is filed or while a divorce suit is pending.
Key points regarding court-ordered spousal maintenance are:
- The court may presume that maintenance is not warranted in a particular situation if certain facts exist.
- Generally, maintenance payments terminate on the death of a party, remarriage or cohabitation on a continuing conjugal basis.
- Spousal maintenance may be limited in terms of amount and duration as defined by statute.
- Alimony and spousal maintenance payments are taxable to the receiving party and deductible by the paying party.
- In some divorce cases, the husband and wife agree to non-court ordered, contractual alimony payments.