No two married couples are alike. In some households, both spouses work outside of the home, but one may work more hours or earn significantly more than the other. In other households, only one spouse works outside of the home, while the other stays home to take care of the children and maintain the household.
During the marriage, the income disparity between the spouses is not usually a problem, as both spouses are generally living in the same house and sharing their lives together. However, once the couple decides to divorce, the spouse who is earning less may find it difficult to afford the life they had during the marriage.
In such cases, a Texas court may decide to award spousal support or maintenance to the lesser-earning spouse (payee spouse). Alimony may be awarded on a temporary or permanent basis, depending on a number of factors. Some of these factors may include:
- Income levels, ages, and health of each spouse
- Job skills and education levels of each spouse
- Contributions made by each spouse during the marriage
- Standard of living established during the marriage
- Length of the marriage
- Marital misconduct
Generally, the court will award rehabilitative alimony on a temporary basis if the payee spouse needs time to undergo additional training or further their education. Permanent alimony may be awarded if the payee spouse has a disability that prevents them from returning to work after the divorce.
Termination of spousal maintenance payments
Spousal maintenance payments may end for a variety of reasons. The most common reasons include:
- Payments were granted for a specific time period and the time period ends.
- Payee spouse gets remarried.
- Payee spouse cohabitates with a romantic partner.
- Payee or payer spouse passes away
If you believe you are entitled to alimony from your soon-to-be ex, a family law attorney may be able to assist you.