Can Alimony Last Forever in Houston, Texas?

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Some people think alimony lasts forever in Texas. To listen to a lot of disgruntled ex-spouses, you’d think this was true. However, even though people complain that they’ve been paying alimony forever, it’s rarely, if ever, the case.

There are some states that have permanent alimony. Texas isn’t one of them. While they do allow for long-term alimony, there are very few cases where lifetime maintenance is ordered.

Alimony isn’t ordered in every case. In order for a judge to award spousal maintenance, you have to show that you’re in need of the financial support. In order to receive alimony in Texas, you have to demonstrate the following:

  • You’ll lack sufficient property after the divorce to provide for your minimum reasonable needs
  • You don’t earn enough to support yourself
  • One of the following conditions:
    • You were the victim of domestic violence during the marriage
    • You’re caring for a disabled child
    • You were married at least ten (10) years

If you don’t meet these minimum qualifications, you won’t be awarded spousal maintenance.

If you feel you’re entitled to maintenance, you should contact a Houston family law attorney. They can help you prove to the court that you need and deserve spousal maintenance.

What are the Time Limits on Alimony in Houston?

Texas has some pretty strict time limits when it comes to spousal maintenance. It is dictated by how long you were married. The longer you were married, the longer you’ll receive alimony. They don’t make exceptions to these rules unless there are very unique circumstances.

The following time limits are in place for alimony in Texas:

  • If you were married for 10-20 years (or were the victim of domestic violence) you’ll be entitled to alimony for up to 5 years
  • If your marriages lasted 20-30 years, you’ll be able to receive support for up to 7 years
  • If you were married for more than 30 years, you’ll be entitled to the highest duration of alimony at 10 years.

Keep in mind – these are maximum durations. There is no guarantee that you’ll be awarded these lengths of spousal maintenance. It all depends on your situation.

For example, let’s say you were married for 12 years. Per the guidelines above, you’ll be entitled to up to 7 years of alimony. However, if you’re able to support yourself, you may not receive any alimony at all. Or, if your kids are all in high school, you may only receive maintenance for a few years, until they all graduate.

Your Houston family lawyer will fight to get you as much alimony as possible. Since each case is different, there’s no way to predict exactly how much you’ll receive or for how long.

Does Spousal Maintenance Automatically End in Texas?

Alimony does automatically end in Texas if certain things happen. But just because it automatically ends, you still need to file a motion to make this happen. It’s only referred to as automatic because, upon motion to the court, maintenance will be terminated. There won’t be  much of an opportunity for the person receiving alimony to plead their case.

Spousal maintenance automatically ends in Texas upon the following conditions:

  • Death of either party
  • The person receiving maintenance remarries
  • The spouse receiving alimony is living with someone they’re having a romantic relationship with

If you’re the party paying alimony, your family law attorney in Houston can file a motion on your behalf. Your motion will ask that alimony be terminated based on the occurrence of one of these events.

For the most part, as long as you can show that the above conditions have been met, alimony should be terminated. However, if your ex can show that they haven’t really remarried or aren’t cohabiting with a romantic partner, your motion could be denied.

Contact a Houston Family Law Attorney

If you’re paying spousal maintenance in Texas, you probably can’t wait for it to end. It may seem as if you’ve been paying it for years. If you find out that your ex has remarried or is living with someone, you’re going to want to file a motion to terminate alimony.

Even if your spouse hasn’t met any of these automatic triggers, that doesn’t mean you can’t have support terminated. If you can prove that your ex no longer needs the financial support, you may be able to terminate it as well.

Call Eddington & Worley and speak with an experienced divorce lawyer in Houston, Texas. They can help prepare your motion and try to get your alimony terminated as soon as possible.