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Can alimony payments ever be altered or stopped?

Many Texas residents who have gone through a divorce are left with an obligation to pay spousal support. Very few are excited at the prospect of having to provide for their former spouse, especially when an alimony order covers a significant length of time. Luckily, social and judicial attitudes about alimony have shifted over the years, and many spousal support orders are intended only to provide limited financial assistance while a former spouse finds gainful employment and is able to move forward on their own.

Unfortunately, many people will take advantage of their ability to claim alimony payments, and will make every effort to continue to receive support for as long as they can. Specifically, it is not uncommon for an ex husband or wife to attempt to hide the fact that they are working, in order to continue to collect payments from their former spouse. This, however, is not only a violation of the existing court order, it may also be considered fraud under certain circumstances.

In order to remedy the situation, it will be necessary to return to court. The paying spouse should be prepared to present a legal argument and evidence to support the claim that their ex has been able to find employment and is no longer in need of financial assistance. As with any other court proceeding, parties will have a chance to present testimony and evidence to support their positions.

Texas courts no longer approach alimony as a lifelong financial obligation. The payment of spousal support is intended to give the lower-earning spouse a chance to get back on their feet and find a way to support their own financial needs. To that end, many orders stipulate that once a former husband or wife is employed, the need for alimony ceases. When a receiving spouse has intentionally acted to prolong the receipt of payments beyond that point, a court can step in and remedy the matter.

Source: Boston Herald, Lies come with cost in alimony case, Gerald Nissenbaum, Nov. 24, 2013

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