What is the Difference Between Spousal Support and Alimony?

What is the Difference Between Spousal Support and Alimony?

When you start going through the legal process of a divorce, you will start to have a serious conversation about a number of different legal terms surrounding this dissolution of your marriage. If you have never gone through a divorce before, some of these terms can get quite confusing and overwhelming.

Here at our Denton area family law firm, one of the biggest questions we get during the divorce process has to do with alimony and what the difference is between alimony and spousal support.

Well, there is no difference between these two terms. In fact, they are often used interchangeably, which can be quite confusing. Alimony is the older of the two terms and was used to make sure that the ex-husband or ex-wife involved in the divorce was able to maintain their former lifestyle after the divorce for an extended period. The name has gotten a slight revamp in recent years, to reflect a more gender-neutral term.

Here in Texas, many time courts will call these financial payments, “spousal maintenance” or just “maintenance.”

How exactly is this type of financial support determined in the state of Texas?

Well, either spouse can request this type of financial support, however, the court will only award support if the individual requesting money doesn’t have enough property at the time of divorce to provide for their own basic needs. They also must fall under one of the following circumstances:

  • The supporting spouse was convicted of an act of violence against the children or spouse within two years of the divorce being filed.
  • The couple has been married for at least ten year and the dependent individual does not have the ability to earn an income to meet these basic needs.
  • The spouse who wants support is a custodial parent of a child who needs substantial care because of a mental or physical disability that would prevent that parent from working full time and earning an income.
  • The spouse looking for support is unable to earn enough income to be self-supporting due to a physical or mental disability.

Several factors are also brought into the equation, including a marital misconduct, contributions of a spouse who is a homemaker, properties brought to the marriage, child support, age, and earning ability. Spousal support situations can be unpredictable and difficult to manage, which is why it is so important to have a seasoned attorney on your side.

If you have questions about alimony or spousal support, or need to hire an attorney to help you in a legal battle or divorce, then contact the Denton family law experts at Navarrette, Bowen P.C. We are here to help you navigate all of your legal issues with professional on your side.

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Navarrette | Bowen, P.C. | Family Law Attorneys | Denton, TX