Defending Spousal Maintenance

I have a lot of divorced friends here in Texas on both sides of the alimony system, and so I hear a lot about it. The thing is, those on either side dont usually talk to each other about the issue. So, one set of friends complains about alimony. They feel its unfair, a huge expense, and that their former spouse doesnt deserve it. The other side praises alimony as a lifesaver and will defend the need for it and the justification for it. But again, these sides dont often meet, and when they do, it isnt amicable.

So, Im going to try to introduce a defense of alimony that both sides can hear here on the internet that might help calm the one and make the other a bit more compassionate.

Lets start with the easier road. For those receiving alimony, its important to not just feel but express (should the occasion arise) compassion for the other side of that deal. You may feel entitled to the money and very much need it, but it is still tough on your former spouse that they not only have had their lives as changed as yours but must also continue to pay for someone they are no longer connected to. It can be a rough fact to accept. That doesnt excuse a failure of payment, but it surely isnt fun, and those feelings should be recognized and legitimized.

Now, the bigger issue: alimony itself. The fact is, it can be very difficult to walk away from a bad marriage when the one thing that marriage offers is comfort. Those bad marriages may be full of all kinds of problems, including abuse, and sometimes people will tolerate it just to avoid suffering a significant plunge in comfort. This is particularly true in the case where children are involved.

That philosophical argument is strong, but it usually doesnt persuade my friends paying alimony. We werent abusive, they say. It was as much our former partner as us that ruined the marriage.

Thats a fair counter-argument, but the fact is, alimony is usually involved when the person requiring alimony is simply unable to provide for themselves on a reasonable level. That may be because they have to watch the kids, which limits the hours they can work and the kind of work they can do. It may be that they stopped working for an extended period and cant now return to a reasonable level of their former career without some time. It may be certain physical limitations are involved.

Whatever the reason, alimony is better not just for the former partner but for any children involved.

Since Texas is not as alimony friendly as some other states, its important we come to comfort with the idea and show some compassion on all sides. This is important here since, as Alexander & Associates points out, there are two types of alimony in this state, and the court-ordered version is far more painful, humiliating, and drawn out.

Better to try to come to voluntary, contractual agreements upfront and avoid all the mess of the courtroom. Plus, itll help avoid some grumbling from my friends on all sides.

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