Spousal Support and Alimony

Spousal Support - While your divorce is pending, the court has unlimited jurisdiction to award temporary spousal support. Spousal support is meant to help the requesting spouse maintain a suitable standard of living during the pendency of the divorce. The court will consider the following factors in determining whether an award of spousal support is appropriate:

  • Financial circumstances of both parties – In situations where one spouse has not worked during the course of the marriage, spousal support will usually be awarded. On the other hand, if both spouses work and have similar salaries, spousal support will probably not be awarded.
  • Length of marriage – When the marriage between the parties has been short, spousal support will probably not be awarded. If the marriage has lasted for more than a few years, courts are more likely to award spousal support.
  • Pre-marital and marital assets of the parties – If the party requesting spousal support brought substantial assets to the marriage, spousal support will probably not be awarded. Additionally, if the parties have acquired substantial assets during the marriage, spousal support will probably not be awarded.
  • Age, health, employment experience and earning capacity of the spouse requesting spousal support – An older spouse who has little work experience or limited earning capacity is more likely to be awarded spousal support than someone who is young and able-bodied with work experience and stronger earning capacity.
  • Whether during the marriage one spouse contributed to the education or potential earning capacity of the other spouse – If one spouse worked to put the other through college or professional school, an award of spousal support to that spouse will probably be made.
  • Whether one spouse has attempted to hide or deplete marital assets without the other spouse’s knowledge or consent – If one spouse has attempted to hide or deplete marital assets in anticipation of a divorce or once a petition for divorce has been filed, an award of spousal support may be made to the other spouse.

Spousal support usually ends on the day the divorce is granted. Therefore, it is essential that the spouse to whom spousal support has been awarded takes the proper steps to secure employment and otherwise provide for himself or herself once the divorce is made final.

Alimony – In Texas, alimony is referred to as spousal maintenance. Texas courts have very limited jurisdiction to grant alimony. The requesting spouse may be awarded alimony if the parties have been married for more than ten years and under certain other limited circumstances. In most instances, an award of alimony will be made for a period not to exceed three years.

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