Texas law calls alimony or spousal support, spousal maintenance. Maintenance is money awarded by the courts between spouses. It ensures that spouses can meet their needs and those of their children.
As times change, so may circumstance for spouses making payments. Texas courts allow for individuals to submit a request to update the spousal maintenance arrangement.
Time limits and amounts of spousal maintenance
Texas places time limits on spousal maintenance. They are:
- Five years for marriages under 10 years and convicted of family violence
- Five years for spouses married between 10 and 20 years
- Seven years for spouses married between 20 and 30 years
- Ten years for individuals married over 30 years
The courts will also impose a time limit for the spouse seeking support to find adequate income.
Texas, unlike some states, restricts the amount of support. Maintenance cannot exceed $5000 a month or over 20% of the spouse’s average monthly gross income.
Either spouse can choose to change the spousal maintenance agreement by either lowering the payments or ending them. However, there must be a good reason for the modification by showing a material or substantial change in circumstances. Reasons may include:
- Loss of employment
- Wage reduction
- Physical or mental disability
The parties must attend a hearing for the motion to modify maintenance. The court may update the order to reflect the factors relating to either person. Payments go into effect after the filing of the motion.
The maintenance order will end if either party dies, the supported spouse marries or lives with another person while dating or in a romantic relationship. Otherwise, the order ends as specified in the agreement.