Different states have different laws concerning divorce that may carry over when moving to a new state. Permanent alimony is not a Texas divorce law, but it exists in many other states. The order to pay lifelong spousal support is a reality for many couples living in Texas who were married in another state before moving to a new home.
This could mean former spouses could be connected for years or even until their lives end by monetary payments. In addition, permanent alimony can damper the prospects of becoming married again as it can take money away from the new couple.
For example, a 47-year-old woman is choosing not to marry her fiancé because combined household income could contribute to his permanent alimony payments. The fiancé was formerly married in a state that allows permanent alimony, and now the woman is hoping to help change the law by becoming one of 2,000 members of a reform group.
At times, alimony payments can be several thousands of dollars. The husband of a 43-year-old woman is paying thousands to his ex-spouse each year after their 2005 divorce. Since it began, almost $1 million has been paid, which does not include child support payments. The case is expected to be taken to court, but the situation may not change, even though both spouses are experienced lawyers.
Some critics of the law say permanent alimony is outdated because it began during a time period when women typically did not have careers or college plans and needed extra funds to survive.
In some cases, people who typically do not agree with permanent alimony agree that there are certain situations including health or disability where such a law is needed. Also, those who may need or want the extra money may choose to decline the alimony in order to keep themselves detached from the former relationship, literally and figuratively.
If you were married and divorced in Texas, you may still be ordered to pay alimony for several years, even if your income changes for the worse. Modifications can be sought, however, with the help of a family law attorney.
Source: U.S. News & World Report, "Taking the 'Permanent' Out of Permanent Alimony," Geoff Williams, Jan. 23, 2013
- Our firm assists Texas residents with a multitude of family law matters. To learn more about our practice, visit our Dallas divorce page.