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Spousal Support and Cohabitation: How Moving Can Impact Alimony

Updated: Mar 5, 2019

At the conclusion of a divorce case, it is likely that one party may be ordered to pay the other spousal support based on income disparity and other statutory factors. Typically, spousal support terminates upon the death of either spouse or the remarriage of the spouse receiving support.

However, what happens when the receiving party lives with a new partner without marrying? Whether or not this is at terminating factor depends upon the language written into the parties’ Divorce Decree or Separation Agreement. If it is a terminating factor, actually obtaining a court Order stopping spousal support can be tricky.

The spouse paying support must bear the burden of proving that his/her spouse is now residing with another individual. Obtaining this proof can be difficult and costly, and at times require the work of experts and private investigators. However, the investment can reap substantial results for your case.

If you believe your spouse is cohabitating, it becomes important to prove that financial obligations (such as food, rent, car-related payments, etc.) are shared expenses. If this is the case, you may be able to terminate your spousal support obligation entirely, or in other circumstances, you may be able to modify the monthly amount you are paying as a result of your ex spouse’s decreased living expenses.

If your Divorce Decree or Separation Agreement does not contain language allowing you to terminate support payments when your ex spouse begins to cohabit, it is still possible to petition the court to modify or terminate support based instead upon a change in circumstance.

Modifying spousal support can be a complex process, making finding an experienced family law attorney important.

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