In many Texas marriages, one party serves as the main breadwinner while the other takes a more active role in managing the home and raising any children the couple may share. When one party in the marriage makes much more than the other, the spouse who earns less – or who earns nothing – may decide to pursue spousal maintenance if the marriage ends in divorce.
According to Texas Law Help, if the state does decide to make an award for spousal maintenance in a divorce, there are a number of factors that determine how long the receiving spouse may get it. The duration of spousal maintenance depends to some extent on how long the marriage between the two parties lasted.
When the marriage lasted 20 years or longer
If Texas courts decide to grant one party in a marriage spousal maintenance and the marriage lasted between 20 and 30 years, the receiving party may not receive alimony for more than seven years.
When the marriage lasted 30 years or longer
If one former spouse receives a spousal maintenance award following a marriage that lasted 30 years or longer, the award is to remain in effect for a period not to exceed 10 years.
When other circumstances exist
In some cases, a former spouse may be able to get alimony if their marriages lasted between 10 and 20 years or if the other party received a conviction for an offense involving family violence within a particular timeline. Under these circumstances, alimony may not remain in effect for longer than five years.
While the criteria outlined above help determine the duration of spousal maintenance, many other variables help determine whether an alimony award is appropriate in the first place.