Alimony payments vary in relation to the length of the marriage, generally between five and ten years.  It’s a common question for those getting divorced in Dallas, “How long do I have to pay alimony?”

Alimony payments are called spousal maintenance payments in Texas. A court may order that one spouse pay the other spouse a certain amount of money in maintenance payments after a divorce. The alimony payments are meant to give the spouse receiving them enough time to prepare himself or herself to enter the workforce, find a job and earn an income to meet expenses.

But the length of these payments can vary depending on a number of factors, including the length of the marriage.

Duration of Spousal Maintenance Payments

The court will take a number of factors under consideration when ordering alimony payments. But these payments are limited to no more than a certain length of time depending on how long the marriage lasted. 

  • The court may order alimony for no more than five years if the marriage lasted less than 10 years and maintenance is related to an act of violence towards one spouse by the paying spouse. 
  • The court may order alimony for no more than five years if the marriage lasted 10 to 20 years. 
  • The court may order alimony for no more than seven years if the marriage lasted 20 to 30 years. 
  • The court may order alimony for no more than 10 years if the marriage lasted 30 years or longer.


A spousal maintenance order is also automatically terminated upon the death of one of the spouses, or upon remarriage of the spouse who is receiving the spousal maintenance. If the court has reason to believe that the spouse who is receiving maintenance is currently in a relationship and is living with another person in a permanent home, this could also terminate spousal maintenance.

What else does the court consider when awarding spousal maintenance?

The spouse who wishes to receive spousal maintenance payments must present evidence to the court. The court will look these things. 

  • Finances, such as the ability of each to provide for basic needs
  • Education
  • Job skills that may affect ability to find employment, if currently unemployed
  • Physical and emotional health of the spouse who is requesting maintenance may also be a factor in the court’s decision

Need help with a family law matter? Call Julie Johnson in Dallas!

If you are getting divorced, discuss how to file and the various divorce factors pertaining to it with divorce lawyer Julie Johnson in Dallas. Call us at 214-265-7630 or fill out our contact form to set up a consultation.