Eligibility for Maintenance
In order to be eligible to receive spousal maintenance, the person requesting it must prove that the person (1) is a spouse, (2) lacks sufficient property, including the spouse’s separate property, to provide for the person’s minimum reasonable needs, and (3) has met one of the four statutory criterion for spousal maintenance (married for at least 10 years, family violence, disabled spouse, or disabled child of the marriage).
Although the Texas Family Code does not define “minimum reasonable needs”, the courts generally consider that term to mean the ability of a spouse to pay the following expenses: mortgage or rent, property taxes, utility bills, car payment, insurance (home, medical, car), clothing, food, gas, credit cards, child care, uninsured medical expenses, prescriptions and medicines. The court must determine the facts of each case when considering a spouse’s minimum reasonable needs.
If the court determines that a spouse is eligible to receive spousal maintenance, it must consider the nature, amount, duration and manner of periodic payments by considering relevant factors such as (1) each spouse’s ability to provide for that spouse’s minimum reasonable needs independently; (2) the education and employment skills of the spouses, the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the spouse seeking maintenance to earn sufficient income, and the availability and feasibility of that education or training; (3) the duration of the marriage; (4) the age, employment history, earning ability, and physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance; (5) the contribution by one spouse to the education, training, or increased earning power of the other spouse; (6) the marital misconduct, including adultery and cruel treatment, by either spouse during the marriage; and (7) other factors as well.
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