How much can an award of maintenance be in Texas? How long can it last? What happens for nonpayment?

 The duration of a maintenance order is determined by the length of the marriage. If the spouses were married to each other for less than 10 years, but maintenance is awarded based upon the criminal conviction for family violence, maintenance is limited to 5 years duration. If the spouses were married at least 10 years and not more than 20 years, the duration of maintenance is also limited to 5 years. If the spouses were married to each other for at least 20 years, but not more than 30 years, duration is limited to 7 years. If the spouses were married to each other for at least 30 years or more, the maintenance order cannot exceed 10 years.

 Judges are further limited in the right to award maintenance by state law that says support can continue for no longer than necessary to earn sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s needs unless the ability to provide for the spouse’s needs id substantially or totally diminished because of a mental or physical disability of the spouse, the duties as custodian of an infant or young child of the marriage, or another compelling reason.

The amount of maintenance is limited to the lesser of 20% of the paying spouse’s average monthly gross income (before taxes) or $5,000. Generally, alimony is tax deductible to the paying spouse and included as income to the receiving spouse.

The obligation to pay maintenance under the statute terminates earlier than the above limitation upon the death of either spouse or the remarriage of the spouse receiving maintenance. It can also be terminated based upon the romantic cohabitation of the receiving spouse.

A maintenance order remains modifiable during the duration of the order and can be reviewed for continued eligibility of the receiving spouse until terminated.

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: