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Ending alimony in cases of cohabitation

Of all of the issues that divorced couples in Houston have to deal with, alimony may be the most contentious. Perhaps the reason for this is the perception that an obligation to pay alimony is often punitive. While the contribution that one may have had in ending their marriage may be something considered when rewarding alimony, its general purpose is simply to support a financially disadvantaged divorcee until they are able to secure gainful employment. 

Information shared by CBS News shows that $9.6 billion was paid in alimony in the U.S. as recently as 2015. While those obliged to pay it may not have an issue helping their former spouses, concerns may indeed arise if it is believed that said former spouses are purposefully prolonging their eligibility for alimony, thus leaning credence to the perspective of it being a away to punish their exes. 

One way this might be done is refusing to remarry. One of the stipulations typically associated with alimony agreements is that the obligation to pay it ends when the recipient remarries. This may lead those who receive alimony to avoid marriage and instead cohabitate with their new romantic partners, thinking that doing so means that they can continue to be eligible to receive it. According to Section 8.056 of the Texas Family Code, however, the court can terminate an alimony obligation if it is proven that one is cohabitating on a continuous basis with another with whom they are involved in a romantic relationship. 

In such cases, the burden of proof may be on the alimony obligor to show that their ex-spouse in intentionally cohabitating to keep receiving payments. It should also be noted that the termination of an alimony obligation does not release one of the responsibility to fulfill payments owed prior to the termination. 

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