Spousal Support & Contractual Alimony
If you are going through a complicated divorce in Texas, you might be worried that you will not receive sufficient spousal support. Trying to understand the difference between alimony, spousal maintenance, and spousal support can be confusing. Many divorce attorneys use these terms interchangeably, adding to their clients’ confusion.
The experienced alimony attorneys at Bennett Weston will take the time to explain your different spousal support options in Texas. We will consider the facts in your unique divorce case and advise a path forward that will best protect your interests. We understand that going through a divorce is extremely stressful. Your livelihood may be in jeopardy, and you have no guarantee of receiving spousal support in Texas. We fight for our clients’ best interests throughout the entire divorce process.
Texas Spousal Maintenance or Statutory Spousal Support
The phrase ‘spousal support’ does not appear in the Texas Family Code. It is a catch-all phrase for any time of payments one ex-spouse makes to another ex-spouse after a divorce. Courts determine whether one spouse receives spousal maintenance and the amount of spousal support on a case-by-case basis.
The spouse who seeks spousal maintenance must prove that he or she does not have enough assets to provide for his or her minimum reasonable needs. The spouse’s standard of living is not relevant under Texas law. Minimum reasonable needs refer to basic needs, such as shelter, essential clothing, food, and transportation. If the spouse seeking support can liquidate his or her separate property assets, a judge is less likely to order spousal support. If his or her assets cover life’s minimal needs, the spouse may not need assistance.
The spouse seeking maintenance must also meet one of the following four requirements:
- The spouse asked to pay support was convicted of or received deferred adjudication within the past two years;
- The spouse who is seeking maintenance has a mental or physical disability prevents him or her from acquiring enough income to provide for his or her minimum reasonable needs;
- The marriage in question lasted 10 or more years, and the spouse seeking maintenance cannot earn enough money to provide for his or her minimum reasonable needs; or
- The spouse who seeks maintenance is a caretaker of a child that is a product of the marriage. The child, of any age, must require substantial care and personal attention that prevents the spouse from earning enough money to provide for his or her minimum reasonable needs.
Texas family courts determine the duration of spousal maintenance length by statutory provisions and depend on the statutorily approved reason for spousal maintenance.
Temporary Spousal Maintenance
Texas family courts can require temporary spousal maintenance. Courts typically award temporary spousal support to allow a spouse to hire an attorney and pay his or her bills during the divorce process.
Contractual Alimony or Non-Statutory Spousal Maintenance in Texas
Non-spousal maintenance happens when spouses come to a mutual agreement regarding spousal support as part of their mediated settlement of divorce or divorce settlement. When spouses agree to an alimony amount via the divorce settlement, which is a contract, they do not need to abide by the statutory guidelines.
If you are considering divorce and need to fight for spousal alimony, the experienced Dallas divorce attorneys at Bennett Weston are here to help. We will fight for your best interests throughout the divorce process. Contact us today to request an appointment.