What happens when you’re paying alimony (also called spousal maintenance) for an ex-spouse and he or she begins to cohabit with someone in a romantic relationship? Do you have to continue paying support and in particular when because of cohabitation the partner is helping support your ex?
Under the Texas Family Code, a court can order the termination of a maintenance obligation, through a hearing, if it finds the ex-spouse cohabits with another person and they are dating or have a romantic relationship on a continuing basis and live together in a permanent residence.
In many instances, the ex-spouse denies co-habitation and you’re left in the position of having to prove it. Hiring a private detective and attorney can be expensive. Proving co-habitation typically rests on proving the couple spends nights in the same residence together. Your expense in trying to prove cohabitation and getting it legally recognized may exceed what you would spend if continuing to pay alimony. Most maintenance orders are for short-term situations, that is, until the spouse is capable of being self-supportive.
Another Alternative to Litigation over Alimony
An article in the Huffington Post suggested a practical alternative. Instead of hiring a private investigator to video the house at night, obtaining cell phone records can prove a person’s location. Several months of cell phone records will show where they person is staying at night, and records can be used to prove a couple is living in the same residence.
Mediation is far less expensive than litigation, and with the cohabitation evidence to hand, you may be able to reach a settlement and avoid litigation. You can agree on reducing the maintenance amount and submit the settlement to the court for modification of the maintenance order. Or, perhaps the ex-spouse will agree that co-habitation is occurring and not contest a request for maintenance termination.
Get Legal Help with Divorce Issues
At C.E. Borman & Associates, we are glad to discuss spousal maintenance and other divorce related issues. We can provide you with sound legal guidance.