Can spousal support end without a court order?

Spousal support modification is subject to the same rules as other family law court orders. Unless the court changes an order, you must continue to abide by it.

Circumstances may change, but modification does not occur until the court actually changes a court order.

You can request modification, if your ex has started living (co-habiting) with another person. They must be in a dating or romantic relationship on a continuing basis.

This right is covered by the Texas Family Code, which states:

Sec. 8.056. TERMINATION.

After a hearing, the court shall order the termination of the maintenance obligation if the court finds that the obligee cohabits with another person with whom the obligee has a dating or romantic relationship in a permanent place of abode on a continuing basis.

What challenges could you face in modifying the order?

How the court evaluates “in a permanent place of abode on continuing basis” is open to interpretation.

Does this mean the ex is staying overnight? How frequently is “continuous”?

Is the couple sharing the house and living expenses?

Proving cohabitation typically falls on the individual requesting the modification. Sometimes ex-spouses contest modification requests. If that happens, you may have to pay a private investigator to gather sufficient evidence of cohabitation.

Many spousal maintenance orders are temporary in nature. In most cases, the purpose of the order is to provide the ex-spouse with financial support until the individual has become self-supportive.

It is wise to have an attorney review the original spousal maintenance order. It may cost you more to modify the order than to simply continue payments until the time period has lapsed. This is particularly true if spousal support was only supposed to last a short time.

An experienced family law attorney can advise what to do based on your best interests.

If you have other questions about modification of spousal support, we are glad to answer them for you.

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