1. What is “Alimony?”
In Texas, there is a difference between Spousal Maintenance and Spousal Support, sometimes referred to as Contractual Alimony. Spousal Maintenance is authorized by the Texas Family Code and may be ordered by the Court. Spousal Support, or “Contractual Alimony,” is a contractual obligation that would not be ordered by the Court.
2. How Do I Get Spousal Maintenance?
A court may order maintenance for either spouse only if the spouse seeking maintenance will lack sufficient property, including the spouse’s separate property, on divorce to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs and:
(1) the spouse from whom maintenance is requested was convicted of or received deferred adjudication for a criminal offense that also constitutes an act of family violence, as defined by Section 71.004, committed during the marriage against the other spouse or the other spouse’s child and the offense occurred:
(A) within two years before the date on which a suit for dissolution of the marriage is filed; or
(B) while the suit is pending; or
(2) the spouse seeking maintenance:
(A) is unable to earn sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs because of an incapacitating physical or mental disability;
(B) has been married to the other spouse for 10 years or longer and lacks the ability to earn sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs; or
(C) is the custodian of a child of the marriage of any age who requires substantial care and personal supervision because of a physical or mental disability that prevents the spouse from earning sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs.