Maintenance & Alimony

Maintenance & Alimony FAQs:

What is the difference between spousal maintenance and a contractual alimony agreement?

Spousal maintenance in Texas family code is somewhat new over the last several years, but, essentially, the main difference is in what happens after you get divorced. In a spousal maintenance situation, the court does have a right to modify the amount of the payment depending on a change in circumstances.

For instance, if you have the person that is receiving spousal maintenance and they get a job where they are making more money than they were making at the time of the divorce, then the person paying can file a motion to modify and ask that payment be reduced or even eliminated.

Likewise, if the person paying suddenly lost their job or had something happen where they can no longer afford to pay, they can still file that motion and the court has the right to look at that during the time period that the spousal maintenance is paid.

In an alimony situation, you are contractually agreeing to pay some amount of money and in those cases you are looking to get the tax benefit that is associated with being able to pay an alimony payment as opposed to giving up property.

And those contracts cannot be modified by court order unless the parties just simply agree to modify it on their own. So, there are benefits to the alimony contract that have more to do with tax benefits and protection.