If you get a divorce in Texas, or anywhere for that matter, you may have agreed to pay alimony. You may have agreed to this in your Marital Settlement Agreement or the judge ordered it as part of the final divorce decree. Your family lawyer in Houston probably helped you negotiate a fair amount of alimony with your ex-spouse’s lawyer.
Alimony is money you have to pay, usually monthly, to your spouse when you get divorced. It’s intended to help them live a lifestyle somewhat similar to the one you enjoyed while married. It’s also used to help them reach a point where they can earn enough to support themselves.
There is no exact way to calculate alimony. Usually the two parties come up with an amount that is fair to both of them. The following factors are taken into consideration when calculating alimony:
- Age of both parties
- Education of each spouse
- Work history
- Whether there are young children at home
The main factor is the difference between both parties’ incomes. So, if you make $100,000 and your spouse makes $30,000, you can expect to pay a hefty sum in alimony every month.
The general rule of thumb is to use the following formula:
Higher Salary – Lower Salary and then Divide by 3
This is the amount you can expect to pay per year in alimony. Just divide this amount by 12 to get your monthly payment amount.
Now, this is just a guide. It’s by no means an exact science. Your actual alimony figure will be outlined in your Marital Settlement Agreement. Your MSA will become a part of your final divorce decree.
Termination of Alimony
When you got a divorce, your family lawyer in Houston will have included a section for alimony in your MSA. This section will spell out the ways alimony can be terminated. Most Houston family law attorneys include the following as ways in which spousal support will be terminated:
- Death of either party: Alimony is not part of the estate of either party. So, if you’re paying alimony, it will automatically end when you die. If you have payments coming out of your bank account automatically, your estate lawyer or personal representative will have to stop these payments.
- Cohabitation of receiving party: Some MSA state that if your spouse lives with someone in a romantic way, alimony can be terminated. This could be temporary or permanent. The reason for this is that, if they’re relying on their new partner’s income to help pay the bills, they don’t need your alimony anymore.
- Remarriage of the spouse receiving alimony: This is almost always included as a reason for the termination of alimony. It follows the same reasoning as cohabitation. The difference is, their new marriage will usually allow alimony to be terminated permanently.
- Retirement of payor: Once you retire, you’re not required to pay alimony anymore.
If any of these things happen, you have a right to ask to terminate alimony.
Does Alimony Automatically Terminate?
A mistake a lot of people think is that alimony will automatically terminate upon your ex remarrying. This is not the case. You will still have to file a motion with the court to terminate alimony. You’ll have to prove that your spouse has gotten married to somebody new. You can do this in many ways, including:
- Affidavit from someone who was at the wedding
- A copy of the marriage certificate
- Agreement by your ex-spouse
- Wedding announcement in the newspaper
- Copy of the wedding announcement
- Proof of a complete bridal registry
Once you submit proof that they have remarried, the judge should terminate alimony. Make sure you stop automatic payments if you have them set up through your bank account or paycheck. The court order is not going to be sent to these companies. You are responsible for letting them know about the termination. Your lawyer can send a copy of the final court order to your payroll department or banking institution.
Contact a Family Lawyer in Houston
If you believe your spouse has gotten remarried or is engaged to be married, you need to call your family lawyer in Houston. It may take weeks or even months to get your motion heard. You want to get the motion filed as early as possible.
If you know the date of your ex-spouse’s wedding, you can file a motion sooner rather than later. Let the court know the date on which to terminate the alimony.
Your family lawyer in Houston can also reach out to your ex’ lawyer to get them to agree to terminate alimony. If they’re getting remarried, they shouldn’t have a problem doing this.