One of the major considerations of spouses before getting a divorce is how to maintain their current lifestyle, given that there will be a significant change in finances. This concern especially applies to parties who were financially dependent on their spouses during the marriage. Fortunately, Texas recognizes this concern and often grants spousal support to one of the parties. The state awards different types of alimony depending on the circumstances of each case.
Temporary spousal support
The court can order a spouse to pay the other while the divorce proceeding is ongoing and for a short period after, usually until the receiving spouse finds a stable source of income.
The spouse requesting alimony must meet certain requirements and prove the need for spousal support before the court can consider awarding the same. If the courts deem it appropriate, it will grant spousal maintenance. However, Texas caps the spousal maintenance amount to $5,000 monthly or 20% of the paying spouse’s average monthly salary, whichever is smaller. This encourages the receiving party to become independent and seek work to sufficiently support themselves.
This type of spousal support is court-ordered. Meaning, if the paying spouse refuses or fails to continue alimony payment, the court can charge them with contempt.
Contractual spousal support
As the name suggests, contractual spousal support is an agreement between parties laying down the terms of the alimony payment. Once the parties finalize the contract, the court will review and approve the document. If the paying spouse fails to pay, the receiving spouse can sue them for breach of contract.
The circumstances surrounding your case will play a major role when deciding spousal support, whether it is an order from the court or agreed upon between you and your ex-spouse. Understanding the rules of alimony can help you protect your rights, whether you are the paying or the receiving spouse.