About Spousal Maintenance (Alimony)

Unlike some states, in the state of Texas spousal maintenance(sometimes called alimony) is limited. At the time of divorce, or thereafter in the decree, spousal maintenance can be ordered by a court or decided upon by the parties involved. When alimony is agreed upon as part of a divorce settlement, it will be regarded as a contract, and incorporated into a decree. Often this happens in lieu of dividing up a particular asset during property division process.

Usually, the spouse with more financial resources will make spousal maintenance payments until the other spouse is able to support themselves. Conditions apply to the right of maintenance. The length of marriage is taken into account, as well as the ability of the obligee to be employeed. There are generally three types of spousal maintenance:

  • Temporary support: If during the course of the marriage one partner was the only wage earner, one spouse may need temporary support to make it through the proceedings without having to worry about paying bills.
  • Court-ordered spousal maintenance: Alimony or spousal maintenance may be granted spouses that are unable to work or do not have the ability to support themselves. The court will take into consideration various factors before granting this type of alimony, including length of the marriage.
  • Contractual alimony: In some cases, spouses are able to agree on a contract that lays out a payment schedule. The contract may may be enforced as part of the decree or under contract law.


Even if spousal maintenance is ordered by the court, there is a limit to the length of time maintenance must be paid. If your marriage lasted 10 to 20 years, the limit on the amount of alimony you can receive is five years. For marriages that last 20 to 30 years, there is a cap of seven years of maintenance, and 30+ years of marriage have a cap of 10 years. An experienced and understanding divorce lawyer can help you to better understand what rights you have to receive alimony. If you are going through a divorce in Harris, Galvestion, Montgomery or Fort Bend Counties, give us a call today!