The court may award spousal support (also known as alimony or spousal maintenance) for a spouse only if:
- The spouse from whom assistance is requested has been convicted of abuse or another form of family violence within the two years before a request for divorce or
- The marriage was 10 years or longer, and the spouse who is seeking alimony meets one of the
- Does not have the means to provide support for his or her minimum needs;
- Cannot support himself or herself through employment because of physical or mental disability;
- Is the caretaker of a child who requires additional care due to a physical or mental disability making it necessary that the caretaker not seek outside employment;
- Does not have skills in the labor market adequate to take care of minimum financial needs.
If it happens that the court does decide that one of the spouses would qualify for spousal support, the following factors (among others) would be used in determining the amount of the award:
- Resources of the spouse seeking maintenance
- The ability of the spouse to meet needs on an independent basis
- Education and employment skills of both spouses
- The time that would be required for the supported spouse to obtain sufficient education to enable employment
- Availability of said training
- The length of the marriage
- The overall earning ability of the spouse seeking maintenance, to include age, history of employment, physical condition and emotional stability
- The capacity of spouse providing support to meet his or her own needs as well as supporting any children
- Any excessive or unusual expenditures, presumed concealment or destruction of property by a spouse
- The overall comparative financial picture of the two spouses--this may include retirement, insurance, separate property, benefits, etc
- Support one spouse provided the other during education or training that may have increased his or her earning power
- Contribution to the family unit as a homemaker
- Marital misconduct of a spouse who is seeking alimony
- Efforts of the spouse who is seeking support to obtain education or employment counseling
- Property brought into the marriage
According to Texas Codes Annotated; Family Code, Chapters 8.001 to 8.055, the amount of maintenance awarded monthly in a Texas divorce case can be no more than the lower of 20% of the spouse's gross monthly income or $5,000.00.
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