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What kind of alimony might a Texas judge order?

Texas family laws may be quite a change for Houston residents from other states. For instance, community property rules require judges to split assets and debts between spouses equally during divorce. There’s also nothing court-ordered that Texas calls alimony.

Financial support provided by a spouse for another during a pre-divorce separation period is known as temporary spousal support. Payments following a divorce are called spousal maintenance. “Alimony” only appears in contractual agreements, created by spouses who design their own support plans.

Individual factors like length of marriage, age, health statuses, payment ability and earning capacities have a great deal to do with the amount and duration of spousal maintenance. Generally, financial support beyond divorce comes with an expiration date. Support is expected to provide reasonable necessities for ex-spouses unable to meet these needs.

Rehabilitative maintenance allows an ex-spouse to receive support until he or she is educated or trained sufficiently to obtain self-supporting work. The duration of temporary support may be longer for ex-spouses with little experience than those upgrading skills to improve a resume with some work history. Some courts are flexible about extending support when the recipient provides legitimate reasons for payments to continue.

Impermanent alimony is a departure from family laws of the past, when financial stability in marriage was largely dependent upon a husband’s income. Today, many households are supported by two wage earners, with a greater chance of individual financial independence in the event of a divorce. However, legal trends don’t take all marital circumstances into consideration, which explains why Texas courts examine multiple factors when making spousal support determinations.

A consultation with an attorney can shed light on concerns you may have about support prior to and after divorce, for possible payers or recipients. You may explore previously-mentioned contractual alimony, a possible solution that eliminates the need for a judge to make this sensitive decision for you.

Source: National Paralegal College, “Types of Alimony / Spousal Support” accessed Jan. 21, 2015

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