“My ex-wife and our two kids have moved in with her boyfriend. Do I still have to pay alimony and child support?”
Let’s start with the child support. Yes, even though your ex-wife and children are living with her boyfriend, assuming your children are minors, you must continue to pay child support. Your child-support obligation remains until your children are 18 or they graduate from high school, unless they are otherwise emancipated. “Otherwise emancipated” generally means that the child has married or has moved out of the home and is supporting himself or herself. Since you say your children are living with your ex-wife and her boyfriend, I assume they are not “otherwise emancipated,” so you must continue to pay your child support.
The question regarding alimony is slightly more difficult to answer. If the alimony is “contractual alimony,” then the answer depends on the terms of the contractual alimony, as set out in your divorce decree.
If the alimony is “statutory alimony,” ordered by a judge, you may be able to ask the court to terminate your alimony obligation. The Code provides that, if the person receiving the alimony “cohabits with another person in a permanent place of abode on a continuing, conjugal basis,” the court shall terminate the maintenance order after a hearing. So since it sounds as if she has just moved in, you may want to wait a bit to see if she plans to remain there. If so, you may file a Motion to Terminate the Maintenance Order. After notice to you ex-wife and a hearing on your Motion, if the court finds that she is cohabiting with “another person in a permanent place of abode on a continuing, conjugal basis,” the court will terminate the maintenance order.
Carol Griffin is a family law attorney and an associate attorney with Peltier, Bosker & Griffin, P.C. Carol is a trained mediator and a member of the Collaborative Law Institute of Texas.