Spousal Maintenance

Alimony is also known as spousal support or spousal maintenance. It is a term referring to the amount of money that you pay your ex-spouse after the divorce is finalized. A court is more likely to grant spousal support to your ex-spouse if you earn significantly more than what your ex-spouse earns, or if you were the primary breadwinner in the marriage.

The amount you pay is determined by the difference between what you earn and what your ex-spouse earns.  The bigger the difference, the bigger the payments you have to make.

What Is Spousal Maintenance

How To Lower The Amount You Have To Pay

Spousal MaintenanceTo reduce the chances of you paying alimony or reduce the amount you may have to pay, you need to take the following actions long before the marriage is dissolved:

  • Reduce the amount of marital debt
  • Cut down expenses, especially on luxuries that your household doesn’t really need
  • Find a job for your wife or help her get more education
  • Spend more time with your children
  • Avoid engaging in marital misconduct to lower the probability of the court awarding alimony
  • Find out if your spouse is engaging in marital misconduct
  • Hold off divorce if your income is reducing so that you can use the new amount when calculating alimony
  • Hold off on the divorce until a temporary disability improves or is clearly improving
  • If you are separated, make sure your wife is able to support her own needs and offer little or no support

When Is Spousal Support Awarded?

A court considers if your spouse has enough property to support their needs and expenses reasonably before they award alimony.  A spouse is likely to get an award for alimony if:

  • The spouse that is supposed to pay was convicted of a crime or has been to court for family violence reasons.
  • The couple was married for 10 or more years, and the spouse seeking support does not have sufficient property or income, or the spouse or their child has a disability.
  • The parties agree to spousal support for a certain time period

What Is The Duration Of Maintenance Orders?

The following are the standards for awarding spousal maintenance:

  • The spousal maintenance award only lasts for 5 years if it was awarded because a spouse was convicted or received deferred adjudication. Another condition is that the marriage must have lasted for at least 10 years but not more than 20 years
  • The spousal maintenance remains in effect for not less than seven years if your marriage lasted for at least 20 years but not more than 30 years.
  • You may receive spousal maintenance for a maximum of 10 years if the marriage lasted for 30 years and more.

When Does Spousal Maintenance Terminate?

Maintenance vs Alimony

Spousal maintenance ends in the following situations:

  • The period for spousal maintenance payments ends
  • When either the spouse paying or receiving the payments dies
  • When the spouse receiving the payments gets into a permanent romantic relationship with another person

Spousal support is not exactly the same thing as spousal maintenance because spousal support is voluntary