alimony folder

Understanding Spousal Maintenance Eligibility in Texas

By Emmett R. Reyes, Esq.

Navigating the end of a marriage brings a multitude of concerns, not the least of which is financial stability. In Texas, one of the considerations at the forefront of many divorce discussions is spousal maintenance, often known in other jurisdictions as alimony. However, Texas has very specific requirements surrounding the eligibility of a spouse to receive maintenance post-divorce. In this article, we’ll break down the criteria laid out in Sec. 8.051 of the Texas Family Code.

Eligibility for Spousal Maintenance in Texas:

For a court in Texas to order maintenance for either spouse, two primary conditions must be met:

1. Lack of Sufficient Property: The spouse seeking maintenance must demonstrate that they will lack adequate property, inclusive of their separate assets, post-divorce to meet their minimum reasonable needs.

2. Additional Qualifying Conditions: Once the first condition is satisfied, the spouse must also meet at least one of the following criteria:

   a. Acts of Family Violence: The spouse from whom maintenance is sought must have been convicted of or received deferred adjudication for a criminal act that also qualifies as an act of family violence (as detailed in Section 71.004). This act should have been committed:

      – Within two years before the initiation of the divorce suit, or

      – While the divorce proceedings are ongoing.

   b. Inability Due to Disability: The spouse seeking maintenance is unable to garner enough income for their minimum reasonable needs due to an incapacitating physical or mental disability.

   c. Duration of Marriage: The spouse seeking maintenance has been married to the other spouse for a minimum of 10 years and is unable to earn sufficient income to cater to their minimum reasonable needs.

   d. Custody of a Disabled Child: The spouse seeking maintenance is the primary caregiver for a child of the marriage, regardless of the child’s age, who requires significant care and supervision due to a physical or mental disability. This disability consequently hinders the spouse from earning adequate income to meet their minimum reasonable needs.

Final Thoughts:

Spousal maintenance in Texas is not guaranteed. It’s designed to ensure that spouses who genuinely require financial support post-divorce, under specific circumstances, can receive it. If you believe you might be eligible for spousal maintenance, or if you expect to face a request for such maintenance, it’s crucial to understand your rights and responsibilities under Texas law.

To gain clarity about your individual situation, consider seeking legal counsel. At the LAW OFFICE OF EMMETT R. REYES PLLC, we offer expert advice and representation for such concerns. Reach out to us at:


921 N. Chaparral Street, Suite 101

Corpus Christi, Texas 78401-2008

Tel: (361) 944-4529

Fax: (800) 881-4106

Your financial future post-divorce is paramount. Ensure you have the right team by your side to navigate these waters.