In many marriages, one spouse tends to earn more money. Therefore, if the marriage ends up in divorce, one party could be at a disadvantage economically. To help put things on a more even-handed level, Texas law allows for the awarding of alimony to a spouse if a need for it can be shown.
Texas courts have a much broader amount of discretion in awarding alimony than they do when it comes to child support. Numerous factors can be taken into consideration, depending on the unique circumstances of each couple. However, some of the circumstances used to make the determination are common to most divorces.
For example, judges take the length of the marriage into consideration, along with the standard of living enjoyed by the couple during the marriage. Other factors considered include the potential for the spouse requesting support to become financially independent at some point. This could greatly depend on that spouse's age, emotional and physical condition and current financial condition. The court will also look at the ability of the other spouse to make alimony payments. Outside of these considerations, the parties can present any other evidence that supports their positions on the matter.
Alimony is often an important part of many divorces here in Texas and elsewhere. The court can decide the matter on behalf of the parties, but it does not have to do so. The parties could negotiate alimony as part of their divorce settlement, which could result in a more satisfactory result for both parties. As long as the agreement does not violate public policy or current law, it will more than likely be approved by the court.
Source: FindLaw, "Spousal Support (Alimony) Basics", Accessed on Sept. 23, 2016