While many people think of alimony as any money given from one spouse to the other after a divorce is finalized, there are actually two separate types of spousal support in Texas. The first is called spousal maintenance and may only be collected for up to 10 years. Maintenance payments are made to ensure that a spouse that may not be able to support him or herself immediately following a divorce is able to maintain a minimum lifestyle.
If the spouse requesting maintenance support has a severe disability or takes care of a child that has a severe disability, the maintenance payments may be ordered to continue for an indefinite amount of time. The other type of spousal support is called contractual alimony. There is no time limit as to how long one person can collect, no limit to how much can be collected or any other restrictions on what one party may receive from the other.
In some cases where a spouse requests alimony, the other spouse may only be required to make maintenance payments if the two have been together for more than 10 years. This applies when the person requesting alimony cannot even provide for his or her minimum needs. Even if the requesting spouse is eligible for maintenance payments, the payments may be stopped when the recipient is able to earn money needed to provide for those needs.
In a divorce settlement, there are many issues that may be addressed. One common issue is whether or not a spouse will provide money for the other spouse to make ends meet after the divorce is finalized. Anyone who is going through a divorce may wish to talk to a family law attorney for advice on this and any other issue that may arise.
Source: The Houston Chronicle, “Alimony not an option for most divorcing in Texas”, July 15, 2014