In Texas, the law authorizes courts to require one spouse to provide financial support, known as spousal support, to the other after a divorce. However, if the spouse receiving the spousal support begins living with someone else or remarries, the paying spouse may be able to stop making payments. This post explains how cohabitation and remarriage of a supported spouse impacts spousal support under Texas law.
Spousal Support vs. Alimony
While courts can order spousal support in only limited circumstances, divorcing spouses can agree to contractual alimony payments. The provisions for changing or terminating alimony can be very different from those for court-ordered spousal support.
Texas courts only allocate spousal support in the following circumstances, if then:
- Marriage lasted 10 years or longer
- The paying spouse has committed an act of violence against the other spouse or a child within two years of the divorce
- One spouse is disabled or must provide care for a disabled child and can’t work
The amount and duration of spousal support depends on several factors, including:
- Length of marriage
- Education and employment skills of each spouse
- Age and health of each spouse
- Job history and earning potential of each spouse
- Each spouse’s ability to survive independently
How Cohabitation Affects Spousal Support in Texas
Cohabitation is defined by Texas law as two people who are romantically involved with one another and live together on a regular basis. The order for spousal support will typically state that it ends if the receiving spouse cohabitates.
If you discover your supported spouse is cohabitating with another person, don’t stop making payments. You must gather any evidence relating to the cohabitation of your supported spouse, then file a motion to terminate spousal support. Examples of evidence includes proof of a joint lease or mortgage, photos, mail received at the residence, and other personal items.
How Remarriage Affects Spousal Support in Texas
The paying spouse’s requirement to pay spousal support ends when the supported spouse remarries, without the need to return to court for an additional order. Keep in mind that if you owe past due alimony, even if your ex-spouse remarries, you are obligated to fulfill those payments.