5 Factors Texas Courts Consider When Making a Decision on Spousal Support

When getting a divorce, many people wonder whether spousal support (a.k.a. alimony) will be considered in their case. While spousal support is much less common than it once was, it is still an option that Texas courts can consider, so it is important to know what types of things they will look at when determining whether or not it should be awarded. The following five factors will be used in making this decision:

Agreed-Upon Alimony

If a couple has voluntarily agreed upon set terms for spousal support, the courts will almost always accept this and put it into the divorce agreement. In many cases, the terms for spousal support will be set in a prenuptial agreement, for example. In some cases, the couple will be able to negotiate terms as part of their divorce using mediation, which can reduce the conflict that could take place in court.

Standard of Living

When the court does have to make decisions on spousal support, they will look at the standard of living that had been established prior to the divorce. If the couple had agreed that one spouse would stay at home to raise the children, for example, the courts could factor that in when deciding if alimony is appropriate.

Ability of Spouses to Support Themselves

Perhaps the most important factor that a judge will look at is the ability of each party to support themselves. If both parties have high-paying jobs (or the necessary experience and education to get a good job), they aren’t as likely to issue spousal support. If one of the parties has a well-paying stable job, and the other hasn’t worked in years, spousal maintenance may be appropriate.

Length of Marriage

If the courts determine that spousal support should be issued, they will look at a number of factors to determine how long this support should be paid. A judge will have a reasonable amount of leeway when making these decisions, but the general guidelines (which are usually followed) are as follows:

  • 10-20 Year Marriage – The receiving spouse will get maintenance for 5 years.
  • 20-30 Year Marriage – The receiving spouse will get maintenance for 7 years.
  • 30+ Year Marriage – The receiving spouse will get maintenance for 10 years.

Domestic Violence

In Texas, the courts are much more likely to award spousal maintenance if there was physical abuse against either the receiving spouse, or the children. This abuse must have occurred within the two years prior to filing for divorce. The courts often award maintenance in these cases as a way to help make it easier for an abused spouse to get out of a dangerous marriage.

Get the Help You Need

Whether you are hoping to receive spousal support, or you’re trying to avoid paying it, we can help. Amsberry Law Firm is here to help you throughout your divorce, and well beyond. Please contact us [Link to CONTACT US page] to discuss your situation so we can help you reach your goals.

Written by Amsberry Law Firm

Amsberry Law Firm

Mr. Amsberry is board-certified in family and labor and employment law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is also active in family law, estate and elder law, and business law. He is a proven litigator who has argued before the United States 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and earned favorable outcomes in complex, precedent-setting employment and civil rights cases. He served as a reservist assistant judge advocate general in the U.S. Army and is a sought-after lecturer and speaker on a range of legal issues.