I Think My Ex Is In A New Relationship—Can I Stop Paying Spousal Maintenance?
Were you ordered to pay ongoing spousal maintenance (alimony) to your ex after a divorce in Galveston County? If your former partner gets remarried, then your duty to make further alimony payments (unless you are past due) is automatically terminated.
However, your ex entering a new relationship is not sufficient to stop your own payments—unless you can prove in court that it is a long-term, supportive relationship. Here, our Galveston County alimony attorney explains the key things to know about your right to stop paying alimony based on your ex’s new relationship.
Background: Remarriage Automatically Terminates Ongoing Spousal Maintenance
Texas Family Code § 8.056 holds that your duty to continue making ongoing spousal maintenance payments automatically ceases “on the remarriage of the obligee.” In this context, the term ‘obligee’ simply means the recipient—your former spouse. While your remarriage has no direct impact on your spousal maintenance obligations, there remarriage is good cause to stop your ongoing payments right away. You do not even need a court hearing.
Note: Remarriage does not remove your obligation to pay past due alimony. Overdue alimony may still be collected by your ex. Still, remarriage is good cause to stop making further payments.
Supportive Romantic Relationship May Be Good Cause to Stop—But You Need to Go to Court
Your ex’s remarriage allows for automatic termination of future spousal support payments in Texas. Their new relationship does not allow you to take any action on your own. In Texas, you may be justified to get a spousal support modification that reduces payments or even eliminates your duty to pay all together based on your ex’s new relationship. However, you need to go to court and prove that your ex has entered a long-term, supportive romantic relationship. Here is how it is stated in the Texas Family Code:
- Through a hearing, a court can order the termination of spousal maintenance if that court determines that the recipient “cohabits” with a person whom they are in a “dating or romantic relationship” within a “permanent” place of residence.
In other words, a Texas court can terminate the rest of your alimony payments if your ex moves in with their new romantic partner on a long-term basis—even if they do not actually get married. Your ex staying with a boyfriend or girlfriend for a few days is not enough to justify a termination of alimony under Texas law. However, if the relationship and living arrangement becomes more permanent, you may have the right to petition to stop making spousal maintenance payments.
Get Help From Our Galveston County Spousal Support Lawyer
At Lindamood & Robinson, P.C., our Texas spousal maintenance attorney has the family law expertise that you can trust. If you have any questions about your right to stop paying alimony based on your ex’s new relationship, we are here to help you understand your rights and options. Contact us today to set up your confidential appointment with a lawyer. We provide family and divorce representation throughout all of Galveston County.