Houston Modifying Alimony Attorneys
Though alimony agreements only extend for relatively brief periods of time in Texas, there is a good chance that your agreement will need to be modified before it expires. With that in mind, our Houston legal team may work with you to assess your current financial circumstances, before then reevaluating the agreement you have already agreed to.
Once we come to a position that is fair to you, the Houston modifying alimony attorneys at Holmes, Diggs & Sadler can help you begin working through the legal process of modifying your agreement. We want to ensure the details of your contract are entirely accurate and just, so you receive what’s rightfully yours. Call us today at (713) 802-1777 for a consultation.
Who Qualifies for Spousal Support?
During divorce proceedings, either spouse could request alimony. However, the court only awards it if the spouse doesn’t possess enough assets to fulfill their basics needs, and at least one of the circumstances below exist:
- A conviction of violence against the supporting spouse who harmed the other spouse or their children within two years of filing for divorce.
- The requesting spouse can’t earn sufficient income to support themselves because of a physical or mental disability.
- The couple’s marriage lasted at least ten years, and the dependent spouse isn’t able to earn an income that meets their basic needs.
- The spouse requesting alimony also supports the couple’s child, who requires significant care or supervision due to a physical or mental disability that prevents the parent from earning a living.
The amount, duration, and payment method of spousal support depend on various factors. The court evaluates several situations and circumstances for both parties to determine who receives alimony, how long the agreement is valid, and how payments get made. Below are the factors considered:
- Both spouses’ ability to provide for their individual needs
- Prior education and any employment skills of each person, and the amount of time needed to seek education or training by the supported spouse to become financially independent in the future
- Amount of time the marriage lasted
- Age, previous employment history, earning capabilities, and physical and emotional state of the person pursuing spousal support
- Whether or not child support is necessary
- Any assets either spouse brought into the marriage
- Marital misconduct, such as adultery or abuse, by either person throughout the time they were married
- Any individual spouse’s contributions as a homemaker
- If either person contributed to their spouse’s training, education, or increased earning potential during the marriage
How Long Does an Alimony Agreement Last?
Most alimony agreements don’t last indefinitely. However, some special circumstances require long-term payments. For example, if one spouse gained custody of a child with a disability, they might require lifetime maintenance. Lifetime maintenance is the informal name for spousal support ordered because of a specific condition.
In other cases, the duration of alimony payments depends on how long the marriage lasted. Texas law places the following time limits on spousal support:
- Five years if the couple’s marriage lasted 10 to 20 years
- Seven years if both parties were married 20 to 30 years
- Ten years if the marriage lasted at least 30 years
Those limits are the maximum allowed. Depending on extenuating circumstances, you could potentially pay or receive alimony for less time than the limit allows. If you believe there’s a justification for modifying the duration of alimony, you could request the court to review the original order.
Modifying Alimony Agreements in Houston
Alimony agreements are legally binding documents that must be honored by both partners for its full duration. As such, you may need to pursue modification if your agreement has become unrealistic considering your current financial capabilities.
Texas law limits spousal support payments to 20% of the paying individual’s average gross monthly income or $5,000, whichever is lower. The exact amount paid every month depends on multiple factors, including the payer’s employment history, education, and contribution to the marriage. If at any time, the person paying alimony experiences a decrease in salary or other financial change, he or she could request that the court modify the alimony payment.
Whether you’re on the giving or receiving end of alimony, fair treatment is essential. We want to help you protect your rights and make sure any necessary modifications of your alimony agreement take place. We understand that over time, your life could change drastically. To that end, the team at Holmes, Diggs & Sadler is ready to help you with both:
Whatever the particulars of your situation happen to be, our Houston legal team can help you determine the best course of action as you move forward with your life.
How to Modify Alimony in Texas
To modify an alimony agreement, you must provide sufficient evidence that proves good reason to change the terms. That means you have to show the courts that circumstances changed and justify the modification.
Texas law requires the petitioner to prove a material and substantial change in circumstances. The most common examples of changes supporting the modification of alimony include:
- Significant decrease in income for the person paying the alimony
- Considerable increase in expenses for the spouse paying alimony
- Significant increase in revenue for the individual receiving alimony payments
Additionally, if the person responsible for making alimony payments develops a severe health condition preventing them from working, that could impact the agreement. In other situations, a court might even rule that alimony isn’t equitable if the person receiving it suddenly increases their earning potential.
What Happens if One of Us Remarries?
If you’re the person paying alimony, you’re required to continue paying despite getting involved in a new relationship or marriage. However, your obligations to make alimony payments cease if your former spouse remarries.
It’s not a legal requirement to seek a modification in your agreement from the court. Your former partner must notify you of the marriage promptly. Additionally, if you paid alimony because you were unaware of the change in circumstances, you could potentially get your money back.
In situations where one or both divorced spouses enter into a new relationship, alimony payments could end. Even if your former partner doesn’t get remarried, but receives some support from their new significant other, you could potentially request to end your alimony payments.
In Texas, a supportive relationship is one with qualities of an actual marriage, such as combined assets and sharing a household. To prove your ex is in a supportive relationship, you would have to take your case to court. If the judge rules in your favor, you won’t have to pay alimony anymore.
Consult with a Modifying Alimony Attorney in Houston
At Holmes, Diggs & Sadler, our Houston modifying alimony attorneys understand just how quickly financial circumstances can change for anyone, especially after a divorce. As such, we may do everything we can to help you modify an alimony agreement to fairly reflect your current finances.
It’s our goal to ensure your former partner doesn’t take advantage of your finances. We know how to review a divorced couple’s assets, income, and other determining factors that show the validity of the current alimony agreement. If changes are necessary, we’ll make that happen.
To schedule a consultation to discuss the particulars of your situation with one of our Houston attorneys, please call our offices at (713) 802-1777 today.