In Texas, a spouse may be eligible for spousal maintenance if:
- The other spouse has been convicted on a family violence charge;
- If the Court awards spousal maintenance in this situation, the Court may award such maintenance for no more than 5 years.
- The party seeking spousal maintenance has been determined disabled and unable to maintain employment due to such disability;
- In this situation, the Court can order spousal maintenance for as long as the party remains disabled.
- The party seeking spousal maintenance is unable to maintain employment because that spouse is responsible for the daily care of a mentally or physically disable child;
- In this situation, the Court can order spousal maintenance for as long as the child is disabled.
- The duration of the marriage is 10 years or longer and the spouse seeking maintenance lacks sufficient assets and lacks education and/or work skills. This often will apply to a spouse who has been out of the workforce for multiple years taking care of the children and home while that other spouse has used this time to continue to advance his/her career.
- If the length of the marriage is between 10 and 20 years, a spouse may be eligible for spousal maintenance for up to 5 years
- If the length of the marriage is between 20 and 30 years, a spouse may be eligible for spousal maintenance for up to 7 years.
- If the length of the marriage exceeds 30 years, a spouse may be eligible for spousal maintenance up to 10 years.
The purpose of spousal maintenance in this situation is to allow a spouse time to obtain the education or necessary work skills to be able to provide for his/her minimum reasonable needs.
The maximum the paying spouse can be ordered to pay is $5,000.00 per month or 20% of their monthly gross income whichever is less.
In addition, when making the decision of whether to award spousal maintenance in this situation, the Court will takin into account the assets each party in the divorce will receive and the paying spouses ability to pay maintenance.
Contractual alimony is spousal maintenance that has been agreed upon by the parties. The spouse receiving monthly spousal maintenance may meet the requirements set forth above, but they do not have to. The only requirement is that the parties have agreed to the monthly payment and the length of time if will be paid.
Spousal maintenance may be enforced by contempt and the spouse who has been ordered to pay and does not pay can be held in contempt and jailed for nonpayment.
A person who fails to pay contractual alimony is subject to a breach of contract suit, but cannot be found in contempt and jailed for nonpayment.