- Factors courts consider when determining payment amounts
- Can you modify alimony in Texas?
- What is a reputable alimony calculator?
Texas laws don’t include the word alimony. Instead, officials use the term spousal maintenance. This phrase applies to court-ordered payments after a divorce.
Spousal maintenance is money the Texas court orders one spouse to pay the other after divorce. The money is meant to help the recipient maintain the standard of living they had enjoyed before the divorce. Not all divorced spouses are eligible for spousal maintenance; it depends on the details of their situation.
Texas courts cap spousal maintenance payments at $5,000 or 20% of the payer’s gross monthly income, whichever is smaller. But a judge can use their discretion to set the amount much lower depending on factors such as marriage length, the quality of the relationship, and employment potential.
If you're wondering how much you might have to pay – or might receive – in spousal maintenance in Texas, you might consult an online alimony calculator. Texas alimony calculators are designed to help you estimate how much a court might force you to pay (or allow you to receive) when your marriage ends. These simple tools cannot capture every detail of your situation and factor that into a final number. But they can help you prepare for what to expect after your marriage is over.
Looking for professional assistance options?
What factors do courts consider when determining payment amounts?
Texas laws include rules about what judges can and can't factor into their decisions about spousal maintenance. These are the points that might come up in a hearing:
Courts require marriages to last for at least 10 years (with one important exception) before issuing spousal maintenance. If you haven't spent a decade together, you are unlikely to receive spousal maintenance payments upon divorce.
If you spent longer than 10 years together, however, the court looks at whether one partner may have sacrificed their education, career, or other opportunities to support the other. That could translate to a bigger payment.
If your spouse was convicted of a violent offense against you or your children within two years of filing for divorce, your marriage length no longer matters. You are entitled to payments from your spouse, and you aren't required to prove you're looking for work to keep receiving those payments.
Of all the factors a judge might consider when calculating an alimony payment, your earning potential is the most important. If you're asking for alimony, you must prove that you need it.
You could cite one of the following:
- A lack of property or income
- A disabled child under your care
- A personal disability
- A lack of education or training
- An inability to complete an education or training due to time or inaccessibility
- Advanced age
If you are awarded spousal maintenance payments, you may be required to prove that you are searching for jobs or getting training or other educational opportunities. When your financial circumstances change, so should your payments.
If you’re a sponsored immigrant, you could require your spouse (as your sponsor) to provide you with 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines in support until you become a U.S. citizen or have 40 credits of work history.
Can you modify alimony in Texas?
Texas statutes cap payments at five years in most cases. But you can modify them before they end.
Good reasons to change spousal payments include the following situations:
- The person getting payments is living with a new romantic partner
- Either party has died
- The person receiving payments has a new job
- The person making payments can no longer afford them
Visit the court that processed your Texas divorce, and file modification paperwork. The clerk will schedule a hearing to determine what the new payment should be or whether all future payments should be canceled.
What is a reputable alimony calculator?
An online Texas calculator like this one can tell you what your maximum payment might be. But remember that these tools don't include all of the factors a judge might consider in your case. The only way to know what your final payment will be is to complete a hearing with a judge.
ReferencesSpousal Maintenance (Alimony). (January 2023). TexasLawHelp.org.
Family Code, Title 1, Subtitle C, Chapter 8, Subchapter A, General Provisions. (September 2021). State of Texas.
Texas Maintenance (Alimony) Calculator. Legal Calculators.