Who is eligible for “maintenance” in Texas?
Determining eligibility for an award of maintenance in Texas begins with evaluating whether the spouse seeking maintenance will lack sufficient property after the divorce to provide for his or her minimum reasonable needs. If so, then a spouse can be awarded alimony/maintenance under the Texas Family Code only if one of two specific conditions exists.
First, where the other spouse was convicted of a crime involving family violence within the two years prior to the filing of the divorce suit or while the divorce is pending, the victim-spouse may be eligible for an award of maintenance. This includes class C misdemeanor convictions if the allegation involved family violence. It also includes occasions where the defendant received deferred adjudication in exchange for a plea of guilty.
The second eligibility category for maintenance requires a minimum of a 10-year marriage. Then, a spouse can be eligible for maintenance where the spouse seeking maintenance lacks the ability to earn sufficient income to support his or her minimum reasonable needs lacks sufficient property (including property awarded in the divorce) to provide for his or her minimum reasonable needs. Or, alternatively, the spouse can be eligible for maintenance if he or she is the custodian of a child of the marriage of any age that requires substantial care and personal supervision because of a physical or mental disability that prevents the spouse from earning sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs.
Most alimony claims rely on the second of the conditions. But for the request to be successful, the spouse must be able to show a reasonable attempt to find an appropriate job or get job training.
For an overview of Texas alimony laws, please see our website O’Neil & Attorneys.
For additional information about alimony and maintenance in Texas, see the following blog posts here on the Dallas Texas Divorce Law Blog: