While preparing for your divorce, you may worry about your financial future. Your spouse may have earned most – or all – of your household’s income, and you may struggle without it. Your fears might be especially palpable because Texas is among the most difficult states to receive spousal maintenance in. Yet, your circumstances could necessitate an award as you work toward self-sufficiency.

Circumstances that lead to maintenance

If you and your spouse pursue an agreed divorce, you may be able to work out your own maintenance arrangement. You will still need it approved by a judge. But this option will allow your settlement to reflect your needs and desires. Yet, if your split is contentious, you will likely litigate your maintenance request.

A judge may award you maintenance if:

  • Your spouse received a conviction for committing an act of family violence against you or your child
  • You and your spouse were married for at least 10 years and you lack the ability to meet your needs without their income
  • You have a disability
  • You provide care for your child who has a disability

Determining your maintenance award

The circumstances that led to your maintenance award will determine how long it will last. If your spouse committed an act of family violence, they will provide you maintenance for up to five years. You will also receive up to five years of maintenance if your marriage lasted between 10 and 20 years. If it lasted between 20 and 30 years, you will receive up to seven years of maintenance. And a judge may award you up to 10 years of maintenance if your marriage lasted for 30 or more years. If you or your child has a disability, your maintenance will last so long as you cannot earn enough income to support yourself.

The amount of maintenance you receive each month will not exceed 20% of your spouse’s gross monthly earnings or $5,000 – whichever is smaller. If you and your spouse work out your own award, though, this provision may not apply.

While Texas’ threshold for awarding spousal maintenance is high, you may receive it based on your situation. An attorney with family law experience can help you work to achieve a fair settlement.