When Is Alimony Warranted? What Are the Different Types of Alimony?
Your marriage has ended. Maybe you’ve been a stay-at-home spouse, giving up career opportunities to raise the family. Maybe you’ve been the breadwinner, but believe that your soon-to-be ex-spouse has the ability to be self-supporting. What are your rights with respect to alimony or spousal support? When do you have a valid right to seek some type of payment from a former spouse? When can you ask the court to compel your former spouse to be self-reliant?
The Availability of Alimony in Texas
Though alimony is awarded less than it was a generation or two ago, it is still an option. The Texas family law courts have the discretion to grant alimony to either party, based on a wide range of factors:
- The length of the marriage—Most courts generally require that the parties be married at least 10 years before alimony will be awarded. The court may grant spousal maintenance in shorter marriages if there was domestic violence, if there’s a disabled child in the home or if the receiving spouse has a mental or physical disability that prevents self-sufficiency
- The financial resources of both parties—The needs of the receiving spouse and the ability of the other spouse to pay. Both income and assets will be factored into the calculation.
- The education and job skills of both parties
- The age, health and employment prospects of the party seeking payments
- The extent to which either party engaged in extra-marital infidelity
- Whether a spouse intentionally engaged in the dissipation of marital assets
- The extent to which the non-working party contributed to the earning capacity or education of the working party
- The services that the non-working party contributed to the marital home
- The standard of living to which the parties were accustomed
The Different Types of Alimony in Texas
Texas has two basic forms of alimony: contractual alimony and spousal maintenance:
- Contractual alimony does not arise as the result of a court order, but is simply agreed-upon by the parties. For this reason, there are virtually no limits on the amount or the duration of payments. If, however, a spouse fails to make payments according to the terms of the agreement, you must essentially file a breach of contract claim, rather than seek enforcement through the family courts.
- Spousal maintenance is granted through a court order, which will establish both the amount of the payments and their frequency and duration.
Contact the Proven Divorce Lawyers at Bailey & Galyen
At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we understand how a divorce can change every aspect of your life. We have a comprehensive knowledge of the divorce and family laws and procedures in Texas and will use our skill, knowledge, experience and resources to protect your rights in any type of family law matter, including proceedings related to alimony or spousal support. We offer a free initial consultation to every client. To speak with a proven and effective divorce and family law attorney, contact us by e-mail or 844-402-2992 call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.