Termination of Spousal Maintenance
Divorce causes numerous significant changes in a person’s life, including, in many instances, a substantial change in their financial circumstances. As such, in some cases, the courts will deem it appropriate to order one party to pay the other spousal maintenance after the divorce. The grounds for awarding spousal maintenance are limited, and it typically is not permanent in duration. Further, certain behavior may result in the termination of the spousal-maintenance obligation. If you or your spouse are determined to seek a divorce or have questions regarding a spousal-maintenance obligation, it is prudent to contact an attorney to evaluate your options. The capable Dallas divorce attorneys of McClure Law Group can advise you of your rights and help you to pursue the best result available under the facts of your case.Duration of Spousal Maintenance
Generally, spousal-maintenance obligations are limited in duration. The length of spousal maintenance is determined on a case-by-case basis, but there are guidelines the courts must adhere to when issuing maintenance orders. For example, if the marriage lasted at least ten but less than twenty years, the court generally cannot order a party to pay spousal maintenance for more than five years. For marriages lasting a least twenty but less than thirty years, spousal-maintenance orders generally cannot remain in effect for more than seven years. Finally, if a marriage lasts thirty years or more, spousal maintenance may be paid for up to ten years. The courts have the discretion to order a party to pay spousal maintenance for as long as they deem necessary if the party seeking maintenance cannot earn an income sufficient to meet their needs because of their own disability or because they care for a disabled child that prevents them from earning sufficient income to support themselves. As such, in many instances, termination of spousal maintenance occurs simply due to the duration of the obligation running out.Early Termination of Spousal Maintenance Under Texas Law
The Texas Family Law Code dictates when early termination of spousal maintenance is appropriate. For example, it states that a maintenance obligation terminates upon the death of either party. In other words, if the obligor spouse dies, their estate will not have to pay the other spouse maintenance, and, if the party receiving maintenance passes away, their estate cannot continue collecting maintenance. Maintenance obligations also always terminate if the spouse receiving maintenance remarries. The converse is not true, however; specifically, the remarriage of the obligor spouse will not end their maintenance obligation.
Finally, the courts will grant a petition for termination of spousal maintenance if they find that the party receiving maintenance lives with another person with whom they are romantically involved. Notably, the party seeking termination of spousal maintenance due to romantic cohabitation only has to show that it occurs on a continuing basis. Thus, even if the parties in question do not spend every night together, there may nonetheless be grounds for ending the maintenance obligation.
While death and remarriage can clearly be proven, demonstrating that a person receiving maintenance lives with a romantic partner can be challenging. For example, they may attempt to evade termination by only putting their name on a lease or deed to the property or may keep the details of their relationship discrete. Or, they will admit to living with someone but will deny that their relationship with the person is romantic in nature. In some instances, a private investigator may be able to assist with the process of proving cohabitation.Meet with an Experienced Dallas Lawyer
Spousal maintenance may be warranted in some cases, but that does not mean that parties cannot adversely impact their right to receive such support. If you or your former spouse intend to seek a termination of spousal maintenance, it is advisable to meet with an attorney as soon as possible. The experienced Dallas lawyers of McClure Law Group can assess the facts of your case and advise you as to what relief may be available. Our primary office is in Dallas, and we regularly meet clients for consultations at our Collin-County office in Plano. We assist parties in divorce matters in Dallas, Rockwall, Fort Worth, Frisco, Irving, McKinney, Richardson, and Garland. We also aid people with family-law disputes in cities in Dallas, Rockwall, Collin, Denton, Tarrant, and Grayson Counties. You can contact us through our online form or by calling 214.692.8200 to set up a conference.