Spousal Support

There is a presumption against spousal maintenance or alimony in Texas, but some recent changes to the Family Code has given spousal maintenance applicable in more cases. Texas’ attitude towards alimony is far different than other states and is consistent with Texas’ conservative values favoring hard work over hand-outs. The availability of spousal support increases with the length of a marriage and increases with one spouse’s legitimate inability to provide for themselves. Spousal support, even when granted is for a limited time. However, the restrictions on spousal support only apply to final orders.

Judges do have the ability to award “temporary spousal support” under a temporary orders hearing. The payments would be made to the other spouse during the pendency of the divorce, unless modified by the Court.

Temporary support is meant to pay for necessary expenses. The logic is to make sure that property is not lost before it can be divided up at the conclusion of the divorce. For instance, spousal support may be awarded to ensure that a mortgage payment is made or to prevent a house from being foreclosed on before the divorce is finalized.

There are no rules governing temporary spousal support other than case law that says temporary spousal support is limited to the recipient’s “necessary expenses.” Herschberg v. Herschberg, 994 S.W.2d 273 (Tex.App. – Corpus Christi 1999, pet. denied). Knowing the philosophy of the trial court judge regarding temporary spousal support is essential because there is no legislative or statutory criteria for the award or the amount.