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What happens to your spousal support when you meet someone new?

The spousal support that you receive following your divorce is important to your security. This is why you need to understand what can happen if you start living with someone.

Under Texas law, spousal support terminates when you remarry — which you may already expect. However, the law also allows for support payments to cease when you “cohabit” with someone else romantically “in a permanent place of abode on a continuing basis.” Exactly what that phrase means is somewhat open to interpretation. Therefore, you need to be cautious about your relationships until you are certain that you’re prepared for your support payments to cease.

What sort of things can be used to show the court that you’ve taken up residence with a new romantic partner (or one has taken up residence with you)? How can the court tell the difference between, for example, a roommate who is just splitting the bills and a romantic partner? What’s the difference between taking a romantic “staycation” at home with someone and “continuous” cohabiting?

Often it’s a judgment call that gets left up to the court. However, be prepared for just about anything to be used against you that could potentially indicate you are in a relationship with someone else and that you are living together, such as:

  • Utility bills, vehicle registrations and mail that is addressed to you and your new partner at the same location
  • Joint bank accounts, a joint lease and similar financial ties between you and your alleged romantic partner
  • Photos or videos of you and your romantic partner in an embrace or video of your romantic partner coming home at night and leaving again in the morning

Protecting your spousal support rights can be important. If it is, make sure that you have a clear understanding of your legal options before you get involved with someone new.