Is an ex-wife that moved back in with the ex-husband entitled to the original maintenance fee after they finally breakup for good?

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Is an ex-wife that moved back in with the ex-husband entitled to the original maintenance fee after they finally breakup for good?

A couple divorced; no children. The wife was awarded maintenance fees but shortly after the divorce moved back in with her ex-husband. =She handwrote a note to him that waived the fees. He paid all the bills and when she broke her leg and he even paid all those expenses. However, they ended up breaking up after another 7 months or so. Is she now entitled to the original maintenance fee?

Asked on March 16, 2012 under Family Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The best answer--without looking at your final decree of divorce-- is maybe.  Your answer is really going to depend on how the final decree of divorce was worded.  A final decree of divorce is a court order-- and an order is an order.  This generally means that the order sticks until there is another order modifying it-- a hand-written note cannot generally change a judge's ruling.  There are exceptions, however.  If you final decree of divorce places limitations on the marital support like "unless otherwise agreed," or "upon reconciliation of the parties" then the hand-written note may suffice to invoke one of the exceptions outlined in your final decree.  If your final decree does not contain a provision like this, you may still have an argument for modification of the final decree.  This would be an "equity" or fairness argument.  The purpose of marital support is to help the other spouse.  If you were doing that indirectly by providing housing, food, and medical care, you may be able to get the court to give you credit towards the spousal support for the times that you gave the alternative support.  You need to tally exactly how much was spent toward her support and then take these calculations with a copy of your decree to a family law attorney who is familiar with your judge.  Many family law attorneys will give you a free or low cost consultation.


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