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Spousal support, commonly referred to as “alimony,” can be a controversial topic and a contentious issue in divorce proceedings. Under Texas law, there are three different types of alimony potentially available to those in the midst of a marital dissolution. Each type comes with its own conditions and requirement that must be met for a person to qualify for it. Furthermore, these conditions and requirements will largely dictate how much support will be paid and for how long.

Types of Alimony in Texas

The first type of alimony in Texas is temporary spousal support. This type of support is only paid while divorce proceedings are pending. It usually ends when a divorce is finalized, but a judge will sometimes extend the temporary support for a short period after the divorce is final. Temporary spousal support is interim support and a lower earning spouse needs to file a Motion for Temporary Orders in order to seek this type of support.

Temporary spousal support is awarded when the court deems it to be both fair and necessary. The purpose of such support is to assist the lower-earning spouse in transitioning through the divorce process and, if needed, for a short period thereafter. Support payments may be made every month or in one lump-sum payment.

The next type of alimony in Texas is contractual alimony. This type of alimony is distinctive in the way that the judge does not order it. Instead, couples have the option to voluntarily enter into an agreement for spousal support. With such an agreement, the spouses are able to mutually agree upon an alimony amount and duration independent of the court. The contract sets forth the amount to be paid as well as the frequency of payments and the duration of the payments. Once a mutually agreed upon contract is drafted, it is presented to the court for acceptance and included in the Final Decree of Divorce.

The third type of Texas alimony is court-ordered maintenance. This is often the type ordered when the spouses themselves cannot come to an agreement via contractual alimony, but it is clear that one spouse needs the financial assistance of spousal maintenance. Pursuant to Texas law, court-ordered maintenance is only justified if the spouse seeking assistance is able to prove that they have tried, but been unsuccessful at acquiring the skills necessary to become financially self-supporting. In addition to this requirement, court-ordered maintenance is only awarded if the requesting spouse lacks assets to cover their needs and:

  • The spouse or child of the marriage has suffered family violence within the past two years;
  • The requesting spouse of child of the marriage has a physical or mental disability; or
  • The spouses have been married ten or more years.

Court-ordered maintenance must be paid until the court terminates the agreement or until the spouse receiving the support maintenance remarries.

Family Law Attorneys

If you have questions about Texas alimony laws, talk to the knowledgeable team at Navarrete & Schwartz. We are proud to serve the residence of Midland, Texas. Contact us today.