Spousal Support And Cohabitation In Texas
Following a divorce in Texas, the financially-challenged partner may be eligible to receive spousal support (alimony). Our state has some of the most strict alimony laws in the entire country. Under Texas law, all ongoing and future alimony obligations are automatically terminated if the recipient spouse gets remarried.
This raises an important question: What happens if the person receiving alimony starts cohabiting with a new partner? The short answer is that cohabitation may be good cause to terminate alimony—but a hearing is required. In this article, our Houston alimony lawyer provides an overview of the key things you should know about spousal support and cohabitation in Texas.
Texas Law: Alimony and Cohabitation
As noted previously, the obligee’s (recipient) remarriage is immediate and automatic cause to terminate spousal support payments in Texas. No legal action is required. The person who gets alimony has a duty to notify their former spouse that they are getting remarried. From that point on, no additional spousal support payments are required. With cohabitation, the process is more complicated. Here are three key things to know about alimony and cohabitation under Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 8.056(b):
- Obligee Cohabitation is Good Cause to Terminate Alimony: In Texas, the recipient’s cohabitation with a new romantic partner is good cause to terminate alimony. In this respect, cohabitation with a romantic partner is similar to a remarriage. The court will terminate future alimony obligations upon finding a new cohabiting relationship.
- The Living Arrangement Must be “Permanent”: Under the Texas statute, the cohabitation must be “ a permanent place of abode on a continuing basis.” Staying with a new romantic partner some days is not sufficient. The living arrangement must be viewed as permanent.
- The Statute Applies to Dating/Romantic Relationships: It is important to emphasize that Texas law does not prevent a recipient spouse from moving in with roommates, including a roommate of the opposite sex. The statute on cohabitation and alimony only applies to “dating” or “romantic” relationships. If there is a dispute over whether or not that type of relationship is occurring, it is a matter for the court.
- A Court Hearing is Required to End Alimony: Unlike with remarriage, a recipient spouse’s cohabitation with a romantic partner is not automatic grounds to end ongoing and future alimony payments. Instead, a court hearing is required to get an order that allows for the termination of alimony. If you believe that your former spouse entered a new romantic/cohabiting relationship and you want to end alimony, an experienced Houston, TX family lawyer can help.
Schedule a Confidential Consultation With a Texas Family Lawyer
At Lindamood & Robinson, P.C., our Texas alimony attorneys have the skills and legal knowledge that you can rely on for results. If you have any questions about spousal support and cohabitation, we are here to help. Contact our team now to arrange a confidential case evaluation. Our firm provides family law services throughout Southeast Texas, including in Houston, Conroe, Katy, Spring, Galveston, The Woodlands, and Sugar Land.