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Ending Spousal Support

After divorce, the ex-spouses will still look out for their children as co-parents. In certain instances, the law dictates that they should still look out for the ex-spouse.

Spousal support is commonly known as alimony. In Texas, it is properly known as “spousal maintenance”.

In general, the court usually orders support payments if, after the divorce, one of the ex-spouses is left with a “lack of sufficient property” which in turn would not give him/her the capacity to earn income for “minimum reasonable needs.”

Courts determine the terms. Spousal support is required if the ex-spouse was a victim of abuse or domestic violence. A petition for spousal support may also be granted if the spouse is left with no means to earn income– provided the marriage exceeded 10 years. 

Terms of Spousal Support

Spousal support is not a permanent arrangement unless the circumstances require it. If the spouse that was supposed to receive spousal support has custody of a child with special needs or a medical condition, then the support is relative to the condition of the child. This could be an indefinite arrangement.

In other circumstances that do not involve a child, Texas law uses the length of marriage as the basis. For marriages that lasted for 10-20 years, the maximum time limit for spousal maintenance is 5 years. For marriages that have lasted for 20-30 years, the maximum is 7 years. Any marriage longer than 30 years will have a maximum of 10 years of spousal maintenance. 

Other Reasons to End Spousal Support

The paying spouse will always have the right to petition the court for a periodic review of the circumstances surrounding the conditions for support. For example, if the medical condition in question has improved or the receiving spouse is now able to earn income. In these cases, it is the condition of the receiving spouse. 

There could also be a petition for review if there is a change in the status of the paying spouse. If the paying spouse has lost his job, he must inform the court that he is no longer capable of paying the alimony. 

Texas law also dictates that spousal support will cease once the receiving spouse cohabits with another person. It doesn’t matter whether they are only in a dating or romantic relationship. This is regardless of the aforementioned limits. 

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas. If you have any questions you can contact him at

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