You and your former spouse got divorced five years ago. And since that day, you’ve been obligated to pay spousal maintenance in the form of periodic payments to your ex. You have no problem continuing doing so for however long the court requires it, except that now your former spouse is planning to get remarried. Do you still keep making those payments, or does remarriage change things?
That’s a great question, and the short answer is that it really depends on what your initial order says.
While it is true that some divorcing spouses choose to allow spousal maintenance to continue indefinitely, those payments generally don’t continue once the party receiving the payments remarries. This depends upon the type of maintenance from the original order, but for the purposes of this article, we will assume the maintenance was ordered under Chapter 8 of the Texas Family Code. To know for sure, it’s wise to have an attorney review your order.
Spousal maintenance under Chapter 8 of the Family Code is often granted based on a variety of potential factors, including but not limited to the financial needs of the receiving spouse. When we’re talking about remarriage, the expectation is that those needs will change for the better once the receiving spouse marries someone else. Hence, spousal maintenance payments are no longer required.
What is spousal maintenance?
Spousal maintenance is regular payment from one spouse to another to help the recipient meet their minimum reasonable needs. It’s important to understand that spousal maintenance is not guaranteed. A person must request and qualify for it, and the court will look at various factors before making a final decision.
The court looks at the following information when determining spousal maintenance:
- The existing financial needs of the spouse
- The length of the marriage
- The ability of the paying spouse to afford to pay spousal support
- Education and current occupation of both parties
Unlike child support, spousal maintenance doesn’t have a clear-cut calculation. The maximum amount of spousal maintenance that a court may order is the lesser of $5,000 per month or 20% of the paying spouse’s average monthly gross income.
As previously mentioned, those payments cease once the receiving spouse is remarried.
As always, please consult your original order to understand the details of your specific spousal maintenance agreement. If there aren’t any limitations, the payor can request from the court that spousal maintenance payments stop.
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