Preserving Families

And Protecting Assets

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Will spousal support ever end?

It is common when a marriage ends that one spouse will become responsible for making support payments to the other. This payment – also known as spousal support or alimony – is the result of either a court order in Texas or an agreement between the spouses. It’s usually paid on a schedule, and if the payor falls behind in payments, there are usually consequences. 

Payments based on personal circumstances 

Spousal support can either be an ongoing, long-term payment or ordered for a specific time if there is a chance the payee may be able to better support himself or herself at some future point. If there is no specific time stated in a divorce decree when spousal support should end, then payments must continue until a court order deems otherwise. Support can also end when certain life events happen, such as the remarriage of the payee, but not the payor. Even if the payor dies, it may not even be enough to stop payments. 

Modifications are possible 

To ascertain when the obligation to pay spousal support ends, the payor should look at the formal document from which the particular mandate was established. Even though this is a legally binding document, there is still the possibility for modification of a spousal support order in certain cases. Significant life changes, such as a new job, a new marriage, or a substantial increase or decrease in one spouse’s pay, are examples that can lead to a court-ordered revision to an existing spousal support order. 

The bottom line is that there is no cookie-cutter answer to when a person may stop paying spousal support for a former spouse after divorce. Much depends on how support-related matters were resolved between the payor and the payee. Texas laws can come with many complexities and can change with time, so those who need any form of help with either their payment obligations or the payments they receive may benefit from speaking with an experienced family law attorney.