Following a divorce, you or your ex-spouse may be ordered to pay spousal support, or alimony, to the other person. Often, the support amount is decided by the court, and the paying spouse is legally obligated to pay as prescribed. Under certain circumstances, however, it can be possible to petition for a modification or termination of support payments. A qualified Cleburne divorce attorney can help you determine if your alimony agreement is eligible for a modification.
There are a few circumstances that can allow your alimony payments to be modified or terminated. To modify the order, one of the two parties involved must file a motion in the court that originally issued the alimony order. If there is proper evidence of a material and substantial change in circumstances, it may be possible that the court will grant a modification, or may even allow the support to be terminated. These circumstances can include:
The spouse who is receiving support payments can continue to collect alimony until they remarry. If the paying spouse learns that their ex-spouse is marrying again, their obligation to pay has ended and they may cease payments immediately upon the remarriage of their ex. It is not necessary to return to court for an order. If back payments are owed, however, these must be completed. If alimony has been ordered to have been made through a lump sum payment or the transfer of property, these obligations still must be completed, and are not affected by the remarriage of the receiving spouse.
Under Texas law, cohabitation is considered a romantic relationship between two people who live together on a continuous basis. Alimony payments may end if the receiving spouse begins cohabitating with a new partner. Unlike remarriage, however, payments cannot be ceased without obtaining an order from the court. The paying spouse must make a motion with the court to terminate payments, and provide evidence that the receiving spouse is living with a romantic partner and not a roommate. Your attorney can help you determine what is appropriate evidence, but this can include photographs, joint lease or mortgages, or personal items being moved into a shared home.
Significant Life Changes
In these situations, the paying spouse of the receiving spouse can request that the court reviews and modifies the order. Unfortunately, it is possible that circumstances may befall the paying spouse, and they will be unable to continue paying their support payments as ordered. The receiving spouse may also experience life changes that cause the alimony payment to no longer meet their needs. The court can increase or decrease the alimony amount ordered, based on the circumstances and proof of need.
If the paying spouse suffers a medical emergency or experiences a drastic change in their employment or financial situation, they can petition the court to decrease or terminate payments. Similarly, these changes can cause the receiving spouse to seek a greater amount of support. Either party must file a motion with the county clerk. Both spouses must then appear in court and present evidence to support their side of the issue. If it can be demonstrated that circumstances have been changed enough to warrant a change, the judge may modify or terminate the support order.
At the Law Office of Robert E. Luttrell III, our team is committed to helping our clients navigate the process of modifying or terminating their spousal support order. We know that this time can be stressful, and it can be critical for our clients to win the modification they need. Our Cleburne divorce attorney is dedicated to understanding the needs of our clients, and we pride ourselves on providing one-on-one attention and responsive communication to all our clients. With more than 15 years of legal experience, our lawyer is prepared to tackle even the most complex alimony modification situations.
Find the help you need today. Contact our offices at (817) 567-2899 to request a free initial consultation.