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The Three Types of Spousal Support in Texas

Spousal maintenance, known as alimony in other states, is not guaranteed in all Texas divorces. However, when one spouse will be left unable to financially support themselves during or after the divorce process, a judge may order it. Couples can also reach an agreement on their own about whether spousal maintenance should be paid, the length of time it should be paid, and the amount. In Texas, there is more than one type of alimony, though. Below, our Houston family lawyer advises on what these are.

Temporary Spousal Maintenance

Even when spousal maintenance is awarded by a judge, it is not always for a long period of time. When a judge determines that a lower-earning spouse cannot support themselves during or after a divorce, the court may award temporary spousal maintenance. In some cases, a judge may extend a temporary order for a short period of time once the divorce is final. Spouses who wish to receive this support must file a Motion for Temporary Orders, but that does not mean it will automatically be granted. A judge will look at the income of both parties as well as the requesting party’s reasonable and necessary expenses. If there is enough community money, temporary spousal support may be ordered.

Contractual Alimony

Like other terms involved in a divorce case, couples can always reach an agreement about spousal support on their own outside of the courtroom. This type of support is known as contractual alimony. When couples are able to reach an agreement, they should include the duration of alimony, as well as the amount that will be paid. Even when couples agree to spousal maintenance, their agreement must be submitted to the court for approval. If a judge approves the agreement, the terms are included in the final divorce decree. Contractual alimony is just that – a contract between the parties. It is enforceable as a contract and the receiving party is able to file an enforcement should the paying party default on their obligation.

Spousal Maintenance

Spousal maintenance is court-ordered, as opposed to contractual alimony which is by agreement. The couple does not have to agree to the terms ordered by a judge, but they must comply with the final court order. Any party pursuing spousal maintenance must show that they do not have sufficient funds or assets to support themselves financially and pay for their basic needs. Additionally, one of the following statements must be true:

The spouse who will pay maintenance has received deferred adjudication or has been convicted of domestic violence within the two years before the divorce petition was filed.
The spouse who will receive maintenance cannot meet their own basic needs due to a physical or mental disability.
The marriage lasted for at least ten years and the spouse who will receive maintenance cannot pay for their basic needs.
The spouse who will receive maintenance cannot pay for their own basic needs because they care for a child who suffers from a disability.

Due to the strict requirements the law places on spousal maintenance, it can be very difficult for people to receive in a divorce action.

Our Divorce Lawyer in Houston Can Help with Maintenance Issues

Whether you need to pursue spousal maintenance or defend against unfair requests for it, our Houston divorce lawyer can help. At Ramos Law Group, PLLC, our seasoned attorney can review the facts of your case and advise on how spousal maintenance may impact it. Call us now at 713-225-6200 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

Last Updated on May 22, 2023 by Mary E. Ramos

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Mary E. Ramos

Mary E. Ramos is Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. She is recognized and respected throughout the Houston legal community for dedication in effectively representing clients’ rights and interests. Mary understands the emotional side of divorce and brings a special compassion to each and every case.

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