What is the 10 year marriage law in Texas?

“A Decade of Unity: Unveiling the Ten-Year Marriage Law in Texas”


Marriage is a sacred bond that unites two individuals in love, commitment, and companionship. Each state in the United States has its own set of laws governing marriage, and Texas is no exception. One unique aspect of Texas family law is the Ten-Year Marriage Law, which has captured the attention of both legal experts and couples alike. This article delves into the intricacies of this law, its implications, and the reasons behind its enactment.

Understanding the Ten-Year Marriage Law

The Ten-Year Marriage Law, also known as the “Texas spousal maintenance statute,” is a provision in the Texas Family Code that outlines the conditions under which a spouse may be entitled to receive ongoing financial support following a divorce. Specifically, this law comes into play when a couple has been married for at least ten years and meets certain other criteria.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for spousal maintenance under the Ten-Year Marriage Law, several conditions must be met:

  1. Duration of Marriage: The marriage must have lasted for at least ten years.
  2. Lack of Ability to Earn Sufficient Income: The spouse seeking maintenance must be unable to earn sufficient income to meet their minimum reasonable needs.
  3. Disability: If the requesting spouse has a physical or mental disability that hinders their ability to work and earn a living, this can strengthen their case.
  4. Child with Disability: If the couple has a child with a disability that requires substantial care, the need for spousal support becomes more compelling.

Purposes and Intent

The primary intent of the Ten-Year Marriage Law is to provide financial assistance to a spouse who, due to factors such as a prolonged absence from the workforce or health-related issues, is unable to meet their basic financial needs after a long-term marriage ends in divorce. The law recognizes the potential financial inequities that can arise from a significant disparity in earning potential between the spouses.

Critics and Supporters

As with any legal provision, the Ten-Year Marriage Law has its share of critics and supporters. Critics argue that the law may lead to financial dependency and discourage self-sufficiency. They believe that individuals should be encouraged to maintain their own financial stability rather than relying on ongoing spousal support.

Supporters, on the other hand, contend that the law serves as a safety net for spouses who have invested significant time and effort into a long-term marriage but find themselves at a disadvantage in the workforce due to various circumstances. They believe that it helps prevent unfair economic hardships that may arise as a result of divorce.

The Role of Judicial Discretion

It’s important to note that the Ten-Year Marriage Law grants judges a degree of discretion in deciding whether spousal maintenance is appropriate in a given case. The law provides a framework, but judges consider various factors, such as the requesting spouse’s ability to become self-supporting over time, the financial resources of both spouses, and any history of domestic violence, among other things.


The Ten-Year Marriage Law in Texas stands as a testament to the state’s commitment to addressing the unique challenges that can arise from the dissolution of long-term marriages. By providing a pathway for ongoing spousal maintenance, the law aims to mitigate potential financial inequities and ensure that individuals who have contributed to a marriage are not left in dire financial straits post-divorce. While the law has its critics and supporters, its existence highlights the complexities of marital relationships and the ongoing efforts to balance fairness and equity in family law.