Texas courts are relatively conservative about awarding spousal support. Petitioning parties must successfully demonstrate that they will be unable to provide for themselves after they are no longer living with their former spouse.
Courts do not attempt to split income down the middle after a divorce. Instead, they attempt to reach an equitable resolution that does not unjustly enrich the party who is seeking spousal maintenance.
Factors that may affect the amount of an award
After a person establishes that he or she is eligible to receive maintenance, many different factors may bear on the amount that a court will award during divorce proceedings.
- The length of the marriage
- Marital property division
- Earning potential
- Physical disability
- The standard of living during the marriage
Courts evaluate each petition for maintenance on a case-by-case basis and do not use a formulaic approach to calculating the amount of a maintenance order. In general, neither party’s wrongdoing during the course of the marriage will influence a court’s ruling.
Limits on spousal maintenance
When a court rules that a person must pay spousal support, it will set a finite term on the maintenance order. There are a few possible events that could nullify an order before it expires. Spousal maintenance obligations end if the person paying or receiving maintenance dies. Also, a maintenance obligation ends if the recipient remarries. Likewise, a court may determine that a person is no longer eligible to receive maintenance if he or she begins to live with another person even if they are not married.