What Are the Different Types of Spousal Support Available in Texas?
As newlyweds build a life together, they may find that managing a home and caring for young children requires more active work than they can provide while both working full-time. In response, one might leave their job to be a homemaker.
While these efforts benefit the family throughout the marriage, this stay-at-home parent’s professional hiatus could hinder their potential to sustain their marital standard of living should the pair ever divorce. As a result, Texas courts often award some form of alimony when couples with earning disparities split.
What Is Temporary Spousal Support?
Temporary spousal support is alimony that is only paid during divorce proceedings and ceases after a period of time when the court believes the lower-earning spouse should have procured another means of income or financial support. Sometimes, the judge will award temporary spousal support to extend for a short time after the divorce is final.
To receive this interim support, the lower-earning spouse must file a Motion for Temporary Orders. It is not always awarded and is instead reserved for cases where the court deems it necessary and fair.
What Is Contractual Alimony?
Rather than having the judge instruct a spouse to pay their soon-to-be-ex, a couple may voluntarily enter into a spousal support agreement. This is called contractual alimony.
Through it, the pair may independently agree on the payment amount and duration. Their contract once presented to and accepted by the court, will be included in the Final Decree of Divorce.
What Is Spousal Maintenance?
Unlike contractual alimony, spousal maintenance is ordered by the judge and does not require the couple’s approval. In order to be granted spousal maintenance, the partner asking to receive it must show that they will not have enough assets to fulfill their reasonable basic needs.
In addition, at least one of the following must be true:
- The would-be paying spouse has been convicted of or received deferred adjudication for a family violence crime within two years of filing for divorce
- The would-be receiving spouse is unable to make enough to meet their needs because of a debilitating mental or physical disability
- The marriage lasted for at least one decade and the spouse does not have the funds to meet their basic needs
- The would-be receiving spouse cannot meet their needs because they are the primary caretaker of a child from the marriage who is disabled
Because of these strict prerequisites, spousal maintenance can be difficult to receive.