Commitment, Compassion And Professionalism

How does spousal support work in Texas?

On Behalf of | Jun 23, 2024 | Family Law

Spousal support in Texas is a multifaceted issue that involves a combination of financial obligations and unique legal considerations. For a court to grant a spouse’s request for post-divorce support in Texas, the spouse must meet the eligibility criteria for receiving spousal maintenance.

The length of the marriage, each spouse’s capacity to provide for their own needs and each spouse’s contributions to the marriage all contribute to the complexity of establishing and enforcing spousal maintenance. The amount of assistance that a spouse may receive is strictly regulated in Texas. Regardless of the earning capacity of the paying spouse, the support can never be more than the smaller of $5,000 per month or 20% of the paying spouse’s average monthly income.

Spousal support options

There are two basic types of spousal maintenance in Texas: voluntary spousal support and court-ordered spousal maintenance. 

  1. Voluntary spousal support is usually included in the marriage settlement agreement and is frequently customized to meet the unique needs and circumstances of both parties. This is sometimes referred to as contractual spousal support. Once it is established, it may be legally enforced to provide any party that violates the conditions with a court-ordered remedy.
  2. A family court judge sets and upholds court-ordered spousal support. When divorcing parties cannot agree or when one spouse needs financial assistance that the other refuses or cannot provide, this kind of maintenance is used. The judge considers marital length, spouse earnings and financial inequalities. They then determine the maintenance amount, length and terms based on these factors. This type of spousal maintenance is legally binding and noncompliance is legally punishable by a judge.

Both types of spousal support involve careful evaluation of several variables, including eligibility for maintenance, the method of calculating support amounts and determining how long payments should continue. Texas divorcees must consider the long-term effects of spousal maintenance decisions on their finances and well-being. Therefore, seeking guidance is recommended.