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You may be eligible for spousal maintenance following divorce

You have finally decided to file divorce papers, and you feel ready to move on with your own life. However, as you realize the reality of your financial situation, you begin to worry about how divorce will impact you monetarily long term.

In certain situations, you may be eligible to receive spousal maintenance, or alimony, under Texas law. However, the Lone Star State has eligibility requirements that you must meet before you can receive support payments following divorce.

Alimony eligibility in Texas

To receive alimony, you must demonstrate to the court that you cannot financially support your minimum reasonable needs. In addition, one of the two following conditions has to apply. The first condition is that the spouse who will pay the alimony must have received deferred adjudication or a conviction for a family violence act committed during the marital union -- specifically, within two years of the divorce lawsuit -- or while the divorce is pending.

The second condition is that you cannot support your financial needs due to a mental or physical disability or because your child has a disability that requires exceptional care from you. In addition, you can receive alimony if you cannot support yourself and your marriage lasted at least 10 years.

Alimony amount and duration in Texas

If you are eligible for spousal maintenance, the court will award either 20 percent of your spouse's average gross income each month or $5,000 -- whichever is less. As for the duration of your alimony award, this is based on how long your marriage lasted.

For instance, if you were married for one to two decades, you can expect to receive spousal maintenance for up to five years. Five years' worth of alimony is also possible if your marriage lasted less than a decade but your husband or wife was abusive. However, the duration jumps to seven years for two to three decades of marriage, and it jumps to 10 years for more than three decades of marriage. Meanwhile, alimony might be indefinite if you have a dependent child who is disabled.

Your rights when it comes to alimony

You and your spouse may be able to come to an agreement on a spousal maintenance amount outside of court. However, if you are not on the same page in this area, a judge will step in to make the determination. Either way, it is within your rights to pursue the most personally favorable outcome given the facts of your divorce case.

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