The first thing to know is that Texas is not actually an alimony state.
Texas is a community property state. However, the court does have discretion to order post-divorce spousal maintenance if the party seeking spousal maintenance cannot support themselves or cannot meet their own reasonable needs.
There are 5 factors that can affect the court’s decision:
- The education level of the spouse seeking maintenance
- The spouse’s ability to earn income or to support him/herself
- The spouse’s age
- Whether or not they are disabled
- Whether or not they are receiving a significant amount of property or funds from the divorce.
If a spouse is receiving a large sum of money, or property that is worth a large sum of money, then the court is not likely to order any spousal post-divorce maintenance. It is only in certain cases when the spouse seeking the support cannot meet his or her basic needs that it is awarded.
Limitations on Spousal Maintenance
If a spouse does qualify for spousal maintenance because they do not have the ability to meet his/her reasonable needs, the Texas family code has limitations on how many years maintenance will be paid and on the maximum monthly amount. For example, the court may rule that there is a three-year limitation on the spousal maintenance. At the end of the three years, the spouse receiving maintenance will have to have found a way to be self-sufficient.
People often hear outrageous tales about alimony in other states. Texas has limits on spousal support versus other states, because Texas is a community property state. Most states are not community property states, but Texas is one of them.
This means that any property acquired during the marriage is split equally regardless of whose name the property is in. The Texas legislature has decided that this the best way to make division of property fair. In the states that are not community property states, a spouse could end up with no property or very little property.