Making Ends Meet: Temporary Alimony In Texas Divorce

Bills, Calculator, Glasses, and checkbookTexas divorce law doesn’t recognize temporary alimony. In other words, payments made by one spouse for the benefit of the other spouse upon marital separation do not meet the requirements for alimony as set out in the Internal Revenue Code. Specifically, the payments are not tax deductible by the payor or income to the payee.  

Nevertheless, an experienced divorce attorney can help you get “temporary spousal support” during those first chaotic months of a divorce. Fort Worth divorce attorney Greg Housewirth, a Board-Certified Family Law Specialist with family law offices in Dallas and Fort Worth, recommends you consider these factors to determine your chances of getting temporary spousal support:

  1. the length and history of the marriage of the parties, the general rule being that the longer the marriage, the more likely and significant the award of temporary support;
  2. the ability of the spouse seeking alimony to be self-sustaining or self-supporting;
  3. the lifestyle of the parties during the marriage, and the financial arrangements the parties have lived under in the past;
  4. the availability of the funds from which temporary support can be paid;
  5. whether the spouse seeking support is unemployed or employed at a low income level, in whole or in part, due to the fact that the other spouse required the spouse to forego employment or curtail a career;
  6. the availability of funds after deduction of any child support which is being ordered;
  7. the employability of the receiving spouse and what effort that spouse has made in seeking employment;
  8. the financial obligations imposed on the paying spouse with regard to preservation of community assets, such as mortgage payments, insurance, car payments, and the like as well as those obligations imposed on the paying spouse which directly benefit the spouse requesting temporary alimony;
  9. the pattern established by the parties for the payment of bills during the marriage; and
  10. any fault alleged in the breakup of the marriage. In cases where fault is alleged, temporary alimony should never be used as a punishment but rather it should be used to protect the innocent spouse .

An award of temporary spousal support by a Tarrant County divorce court will not be a permanent solution to your financial concerns. Such an award will be limited in duration to months, not years, with the expectation being you will use your best efforts to bridge the income gap by scaling back on your expenses, and if you are unemployed, getting a job.

Divorce and alimony in Texas is traumatic and difficult. Questions must be answered and hard decisions must be made. Divorce attorney Greg Housewirth can help you through divorce, offering not just aggressive courtroom representation, but divorce mediation and collaborative divorce, two positive alternatives to an ugly divorce trial.