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FamilyAnswer, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 27594
Experience:  10 + years of handling Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody and Child Support cases
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I was divorced 29 Sept 2014 after 26 years of marriage. Was

Customer Question

I was divorced 29 Sept 2014 after 26 years of marriage. Was married and divorced in Texas. The final decree gives me 48 months of spousal support, $4000/month. My ex is a practicing physician, with a busy practice. November 2014 my mother died, leaving me and my three siblings approx. $350,000 each. My ex has now retained an attorney, is attempting to be completely free of paying support, stating that the change in my financial situation has made me undeniably wealthy, and that continue paying puts him in financial distress. I am about to turn 57 years old. I do not work, haven't for many years, including the years we were married. The bulk of my inheritance is now invested for my retirement, including long-term care. I contacted my divorce attorney, but they never returned my call, I am sure won't unless I pay a retainer fee. The initial letter from his new attorney was dated 28 October 2015, stated that they were sure I'd be willing to come to an agreement, otherwise, if I did not respond within 15 days, they would proceed. I do not know what to do, do I retain an attorney now, or do I wait? What are the odds that this ludicrous request be granted? Thank you very much for your time. Elisa L Burk
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  FamilyAnswer replied 1 year ago.

Elisa, good morning. I certainly understand the situation and your concern. The family code is very clear that there needs to be a substantial change in circumstances, for support to be modified. I have provided the code below for you to review, so you can see what the Judge will look at and the burden which he will need to meet. You are under NO legal obligation to settle with him and can retain counsel when and if they file, who can represent your legal interest. Right now, it would appear he is trying to benefit from your inheritance, to avoid paying support and the change is not related to something involving him or a situation where you remarry and/or are living with someone who supports you. Moreover, this money can be used quickly and may go towards other things, so I am inclined to believe that the Judge will allow him to get out of support, because if this, which was unexpected and through no doing of your own or something related to him. However, you do want to protect your legal right, so if they do file, then you 100% want to retain an attorney. If you do so at this time, they may try and settle, so unless you want to go that route, you may want to wait, since they will start billing for the work performed.

Sec. 8.057. MODIFICATION OF MAINTENANCE ORDER. (a) The amount of maintenance specified in a court order or the portion of a decree that provides for the support of a former spouse may be reduced by the filing of a motion in the court that originally rendered the order. A party affected by the order or the portion of the decree to be modified may file the motion.

(b) Notice of a motion to modify maintenance and the response, if any, are governed by the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure applicable to the filing of an original lawsuit. Notice must be given by service of citation, and a response must be in the form of an answer due on or before 10 a.m. of the first Monday after 20 days after the date of service. A court shall set a hearing on the motion in the manner provided by Rule 245, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.

(c) After a hearing, the court may modify an original or modified order or portion of a decree providing for maintenance on a proper showing of a material and substantial change in circumstances, including circumstances reflected in the factors specified in Section 8.052, relating to either party or to a child of the marriage described by Section 8.051(2)(C), if applicable. The court shall apply the modification only to payment accruing after the filing of the motion to modify.

(d) A loss of employment or circumstances that render a former spouse unable to provide for the spouse's minimum reasonable needs by reason of incapacitating physical or mental disability that occur after the divorce or annulment are not grounds for the institution of spousal maintenance for the benefit of the former spouse.

Expert:  FamilyAnswer replied 1 year ago.

I just wanted to follow up and see if you had any other questions or needed me to clarify something. I am here to help, so please let me know. Thanks!