When a client is thinking about filing for divorce, one of the first things we get asked about is how we can help them get the financial support they need — alimony and spousal maintenance — once the divorce is final. There are many misconceptions about financial support options, and it helps to clarify and understand this concept better.
Understanding Alimony and Spousal Maintenance
First, in Texas, as in other states, there is a distinction between alimony and spousal maintenance.
- Spousal maintenance is defined in the Texas Family Code by a set of rules that specify who is eligible for it and under what conditions.
- Alimony, on the other hand, is something that can be defined by the parties without limitations and conditions, and it is specified in a written contract.
Second, the general purpose of spousal support is to equalize a disparity of earnings between a couple and to help a spouse get back on his or her feet – not to continue a certain lifestyle that he or she has become accustomed to during the marriage.
Third, to get spousal maintenance, you must meet certain conditions.
- There must be a source of money to pay from (i.e., your husband has the ability to pay), and
- You have a need for alimony (i.e., you will have to distinguish between needs and wants).
More and more states are also tying alimony to the length of the marriage, meaning that you must have been married for a certain number of years to qualify.
How to Get the Alimony and Spousal Maintenance You Deserve
So, how does a person get alimony? This question is best discussed with an experienced attorney after filing for divorce as the answer may depend on whether you are seeking spousal maintenance versus contractual alimony. However, regardless of which form of financial support you are requesting, you can greatly improve your chances of getting alimony by having a plan.
If you’d like to learn more, our guide to divorce for stay-at-home moms and homemakers, “I Am SAHM, SAHM I Am” explores these steps in more detail. Click below to download a copy of the guide right away.
At Alexandra Geczi PLLC, Family Law, we are woman attorneys advocating for women’s rights in the Texas divorce process. We understand your concerns and want to empower you on your journey into life’s next chapter. Request your free divorce case consultation today.