Individuals in Texas who are concerned about their financial situation after divorce may not be aware that alimony is only awarded in limited circumstances for limited periods. In fact, the term alimony refers to two different types of support. Spousal maintenance is court-ordered while contractual alimony is worked out in a written agreement between the former spouses.
The other primary difference between the two types is that spousal maintenance has specific legal parameters, and contractual alimony is not limited by those guidelines. Spousal maintenance is awarded for five, seven or 10 years. Exceptions may be made in cases where the former spouse is disabled or is caring for a disabled child. In those cases, the maintenance may be extended for the duration of the disability and indefinitely if needed.