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How long does spousal maintenance last?

Mar 1, 2021 | Spousal Maintenance

Whether you are in a position to pay or receive spousal maintenance after a divorce, the chances are good that you want to know how long these payments will last. Knowing just how long alimony will continue allows you to budget and plan for your future. 

Of course, every case is different, but there are a few things you can expect in terms of the duration of alimony in Texas

Length of marriage

The duration of maintenance payments depends on the amount of time a couple was married. 

  • If a marriage was shorter than 10 years, alimony could be payable for up to five years if the paying party was abusive.
  • If parties were married between 10 and 20 years, alimony could last for up to five years.
  • If parties were married between 20 and 30 years, alimony could last for up to seven years.
  • If a marriage lasted for more than 30 years, alimony could last for up to 10 years. 

In other words, the longer a marriage was, the longer the duration of spousal maintenance payments can be.

Other factors that affect the duration

Other factors can affect the length of time a party pays support. For example, the disability of the recipient or a dependent child can result in an order for indefinite alimony. If you have a prenuptial agreement in place that provides directions for maintenance, the courts can uphold that schedule.

Further, courts can terminate payments early in the following scenarios:

  • If either party passes away
  • If the party receiving support gets remarried
  • If the party receiving support cohabitates with a romantic partner
  • If the paying spouse petitions the courts for early termination based on a significant change in circumstances

Barring these situations, parties can expect to pay or receive alimony until the order’s expiration date.

No guarantees in spousal maintenance

This information provides a general guide on spousal maintenance rules and laws in Texas. However, note that every case is different, and support is not guaranteed. Parties must be eligible for maintenance, and the courts must approve all arrangements. 

Because of this, legal guidance and support can be critical for parties who expect alimony to be part of their divorce.