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Legal Strategies for Modifying Alimony in Texas After Divorce

 Posted on November 06, 2023 in Family Law

Frisco family lawyerLife after divorce sometimes necessitates revising court-ordered alimony. When major circumstances change, the original payments may become impractical or unfair for one spouse. Texas law allows alimony modifications, but only if you meet strict filing and evidentiary burdens. With the help of a Texas lawyer, you can petition to legally adjust divorce decree alimony terms that no longer fit your situation.

File Your Petition Promptly

To request an alimony modification in Texas, you must file a petition with the court that granted your divorce using the same cause number. The petition outlines the revised alimony terms you are seeking and evidence justifying the change. Timing requirements depend on which party files the petition:

  • For recipients, a petition can only be filed after an initial waiting period after divorce dictated by the court (often 6-12 months).
  • For payers, a petition must be filed before the date the current alimony obligation is set to terminate.
  • Submit petitions promptly when eligible to increase the likelihood of approval.

Prove a Substantial Change in Circumstances

Under Texas law, the party filing the modification petition must provide clear and convincing evidence that circumstances have materially changed since alimony was ordered, making the current payments overly burdensome or insufficient. Common substantial changes include a payor spouse losing their job, a recipient spouse becoming disabled, or an unexpected windfall or bankruptcy. Significant changes in income or assets must be quantifiable through documentation like tax returns, pay stubs, and bank statements. Minor or temporary changes in finances generally do not meet the required threshold. The emphasis is on showing the overall economic situation is now permanently different.

Be Specific Regarding the Desired Changes

In your petition, specifically outline the alimony modifications you are seeking, whether it involves the payment amounts, duration, frequency, or other terms. If requesting the court terminate alimony altogether, your evidence must demonstrate the recipient spouse no longer needs continued support.

When asking for an increase, make a clear case for why the prior amount is insufficient under current circumstances. Justify the specific higher payment you believe appropriate. Vague or unsupported petitions struggle to meet the burden of proof required. Be detailed and thorough regarding revised terms and the rationale.

Negotiate a Voluntary Agreement if Possible

Before pursuing formal legal action, try negotiating revised alimony terms with your ex-spouse directly. If you can mutually agree to fair modifications, submit a consent order for court approval.

A civil voluntary agreement avoids contentious court battles' appearance before a judge and avoids the risk of rejection. However, if direct negotiation fails, do not hesitate to petition the court for modification.

Contact a Frisco, TX Family Lawyer

With the proper evidence and legal arguments, you can often successfully modify divorce alimony orders to appropriately align with significant life changes that naturally occur over time. A Collin County, TX family law attorney with The Law Office of Linda Risinger can advocate to adjust alimony when prior terms are no longer equitable or feasible. Call 972-294-6533 for a free consultation. 

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