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Texas Family Code Contractual Alimony: Understanding the Basics

In Texas, the law recognizes different types of spousal support or alimony that may be awarded during or after a divorce. One of these is contractual alimony, which is also known as spousal maintenance or alimony in gross.

If you`re going through a divorce or considering a spousal support agreement, it`s important to understand the basics of contractual alimony under the Texas Family Code. Here`s what you need to know.

What is Contractual Alimony?

Contractual alimony is a type of spousal support that is agreed upon by both parties in a written contract or agreement. Unlike court-ordered spousal maintenance, which is based on statutory guidelines, contractual alimony is generally more flexible and can be tailored to the specific needs and circumstances of the parties involved.

Under Texas law, contractual alimony can be awarded as part of a divorce settlement, either through a mediated agreement or through the court. It can also be included in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

How is Contractual Alimony Determined?

The amount and duration of contractual alimony are typically negotiated by the parties and their attorneys. The agreement may be based on factors such as the length of the marriage, the earning capacity and financial resources of each party, and any other relevant factors.

Unlike court-ordered spousal maintenance, there are no statutory guidelines for determining the amount or duration of contractual alimony. However, the agreement must be fair and reasonable at the time it is entered into, and it cannot be unconscionable or against public policy.

Can Contractual Alimony be Modified or Terminated?

Like any contract, a contractual alimony agreement can be modified or terminated by mutual agreement or by court order. The agreement may also include provisions for termination or modification based on certain events or circumstances, such as the remarriage of the receiving spouse.

It`s important to note that contractual alimony cannot be modified or terminated by a court unless the agreement itself allows for it. This means that parties should carefully consider the terms of the agreement to ensure that it is both fair and flexible enough to accommodate any future changes in circumstances.

Final Thoughts

Contractual alimony can be a useful tool for parties seeking to resolve spousal support issues outside of court. By negotiating and agreeing to the terms of spousal support, both parties can avoid the uncertainty and expense of a court battle.

If you`re considering a contractual alimony agreement, it`s important to work with an experienced family law attorney who can help you understand your rights and obligations under Texas law. With the right guidance and support, you can negotiate a fair and reasonable spousal support agreement that meets your needs and protects your interests.