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My Alimony Is Ending. Can I Get it Extended?  

The Torres Law Firm June 12, 2024

When marriages end, life can take unexpected turns, especially when it comes to financial stability. Alimony, or spousal support, plays a vital role in helping individuals transition smoothly post-divorce. But what happens when your alimony is coming to an end? Is it possible to get it extended?  

In short, the answer is: it depends. Extending alimony largely hinges on the specific circumstances surrounding your case and the laws of your state. Factors such as the length of the marriage, the financial independence of the recipient, and any significant changes in circumstances can influence whether an extension will be granted.

Additionally, you may need to present a compelling reason for the extension, such as ongoing medical issues or an inability to secure employment that provides adequate financial support.  

Alimony and Its Termination 

Alimony is financial support paid by one spouse to another after a divorce. Its primary purpose is to help the lower-earning spouse maintain a similar standard of living to what they had during the marriage. There are different types of alimony, including temporary, rehabilitative, and permanent, and each serves unique needs and situations:

  • Temporary alimony, also known as pendente lite, is granted while the divorce is still pending to help cover immediate expenses.

  • Rehabilitative alimony is awarded for a set period, allowing the receiving spouse to become self-sufficient through education or job training.

  • Permanent alimony, although less common today, is for long-term marriages where one spouse may never be able to support themselves. 

Understanding Permanent Alimony 

Permanent alimony is typically awarded in situations where a marriage lasted for a significant amount of time and the receiving spouse now faces considerable difficulty becoming self-supporting due to age, health, or lack of job skills.  

For example, if a couple was married for 30 years and one spouse was a stay-at-home parent throughout the entire marriage, the court might determine that this spouse is less likely to re-enter the workforce and achieve financial independence, justifying the need for permanent alimony.  

Another common scenario involves one spouse having a chronic illness or disability that prevents them from working and earning an income comparable to the standard of living established during the marriage.  

In these cases, permanent alimony makes sure the lower-earning or non-earning spouse can maintain a comfortable quality of life despite the divorce. 

Common Reasons for Alimony Termination 

Alimony payments typically end when certain conditions are met. Common reasons for termination include the remarriage of the receiving spouse, the death of either spouse, or the receiving spouse becoming financially independent. Understanding these common reasons helps set realistic expectations for the future. 

Circumstances for Extending Alimony 

While the termination of alimony is often straightforward, there are circumstances where an extension may be warranted. Courts look at several factors when deciding whether to extend alimony. These include:

  • The length of the marriage

  • The age and health of both spouses

  • The paying spouse's ability to continue payments

  • The receiving spouse's efforts to become self-sufficient

Each case is unique, and the court will weigh these factors carefully. However, significant changes in circumstances can justify an extension of alimony.

For example, if the receiving spouse faces unforeseen medical expenses or loss of employment, the court may consider these changes when evaluating a request for an extension. It's crucial to document and present these changes effectively. 

Legal Process for Extending Alimony 

If you need to request an extension for your alimony payments, it's important to follow the legal process meticulously. The steps involved can be complex, but understanding each stage can help guide you through the process smoothly. Below is a general outline of the steps you should take: 

  1. Consult an attorney: The first step is to consult with a family law attorney who can provide legal advice tailored to your specific circumstances and state laws. 

  1. Gather documentation: Collect comprehensive documentation that supports your request for an extension. This includes medical records, employment history, and financial statements. 

  1. File a motion: Your attorney will help you file a motion with the court requesting an extension for alimony. This motion must outline the reasons for the extension and provide supporting evidence. 

  1. Serve the motion to your ex-spouse: Once the motion is filed, you must serve a copy to your ex-spouse and give them an opportunity to respond. 

  1. Attend a hearing: A court hearing will be scheduled where both parties can present their arguments. Be prepared to explain why an extension is necessary and provide all relevant documents. 

  1. Receive a court decision: After the hearing, the judge will make a decision based on the evidence and arguments presented by both sides. This decision will be documented in a court order. 

By understanding the steps involved and presenting strong evidence, you improve your chances of obtaining an extension that ensures continued financial stability. 

The Role of Legal Advice and Representation 

Having legal representation can significantly impact the outcome of your case. A knowledgeable family law attorney from The Torres Law Firm can help you gather the necessary documentation, prepare your case, and represent you in court. Legal advice can help ensure you understand your rights and options and provide peace of mind. 

Understand Your Rights & Options

Understanding alimony and the reasons for potential extension is crucial for those facing financial uncertainty post-divorce. By familiarizing yourself with the types of alimony, reasons for termination, and the legal process for seeking an extension, you can make informed decisions that best suit your circumstances. 

Consulting with a family law attorney can provide clarity and guidance tailored to your unique situation. At The Torres Law Firm, we will help you advocate for extended alimony. Whether you're looking to extend an existing alimony arrangement or seeking advice on new terms, our experienced team in Corpus Christi and throughout Dallas and Fort Worth is ready to support your needs.

We understand the emotional and financial implications involved, and we work diligently to ensure you receive fair and just outcomes. Reach out to us today to discuss how we can assist you in securing the alimony arrangements that best suit your circumstances.