Alimony Terminated on the Earlier of a Specific Date or Death of Either Party

Archive, Blog, Brad M. LaMorgese

On December 17, 2015, the Houston (First) Court of Appeals considered In Hallsted v. McGinnis. In that case, the ex-Wife sued ex-Husband for delinquent alimony payments. Ex-Husband argued that the AID was void because it required him to pay permanent alimony, which violated public policy. The Court of Appeals held that a valid AID is subject to traditional rules of contract interpretation. The AID in question contained a provision for “Terms” which ended all payments on January 1, 2014, but was subject to the death of either party. The court viewed this provision to apply to the entire contract. Therefore, the alimony payments had a specified ending date and were enforceable by law. Ex-husband was held responsible for any missed alimony payments between the date of the AID and January 1, 2014.