Is spousal support compulsory after a divorce in Texas?

Is spousal support compulsory after a divorce in Texas?

On Behalf of | May 25, 2023 | Divorce

Spousal support, also known as alimony, is financial support provided by one spouse to the other after a divorce. Spousal support aims to help ensure that both spouses can maintain their living standards after the divorce.

But the question is, is spousal support compulsory after a divorce? Well, spousal support is not a requirement in every divorce case. In many cases, it’s not awarded at all. Here is what you should know about spousal support in a Texas divorce. 

What’s the eligibility for court-ordered spousal maintenance?

In September 2011, Texas significantly modified the qualification requirements for court-order alimony. Under Texas law, to be eligible for spousal support, one must first prove that after asset division, they don’t have enough property to meet their minimum reasonable needs. In this case, minimum reasonable needs mean an individual’s monthly expenses. Please note that the court will include your separate property in this evaluation. 

Furthermore, the requesting spouse must also prove at least one of the following:

  • The marriage lasted ten years or longer, and the requesting spouse diligently tried to earn a living while the divorce was pending.
  • The requesting spouse is a victim of family violence committed by the other spouse within the two years preceding the divorce filing or while the divorce is pending.
  • The requesting spouse sustained an incapacitating disability during the marriage, preventing them from earning sufficient income or being self-supporting.
  • A child of the marriage whose primary caregiver is the requesting spouse requires around-the-clock care due to a mental or physical disability.

Moreover, a former spouse cannot qualify for court-ordered maintenance simply because they lost their job or became disabled following the divorce. And, even if the eligibility criteria are met, the court has discretion in deciding whether to award spousal support, the amount and the duration of the support.

In conclusion, the answer is, “No, spousal support is not compulsory after a divorce.” It’s not automatically awarded unless the requesting spouse fulfills the eligibility requirements. Essentially, Texas courts pay keen attention to an asking spouse’s circumstances before rather than after the divorce.