Want To Change Or Discontinue Alimony Based On Your Ex-Spouse's Cohabitation With Another? Learn More

Alimony can be hotly contested in a divorce because people simply don't feel like they should have to continue supporting a dependent spouse after the marriage is over. In many ways, it keeps the payer, at least, feeling like the marriage really isn't over. In addition, it's a continual drain on the payer's finances and resources for as long as it goes on. That's why these cases often end up back in court when the recipient of the alimony begins cohabitating with another. Learn more about what can happen.

What does cohabitation actually mean?

Cohabitation doesn't necessarily mean that two people are living together. In order to terminate alimony, two people have to be in a relationship that functions essentially like a marriage. The court is likely to look at several different factors:

  • Does the couple actually live together?

  • Have they done so for an extended period of time?

  • Are expenses and finances in general shared between them?

  • Is the need for continued support reduced or eliminated?

Absent these things, a court isn't likely to find that cohabitation exists. That means that if your ex-wife's current boyfriend spends every weekend at her house but still maintains a separate apartment during the week and receives his mail elsewhere, the court isn't likely to find that they are cohabitating. You would still be required to pay alimony. Similarly, if your ex-husband and his girlfriend rent a beach house together for a few weeks during summer vacation, that's not cohabitation. It would only be considered a temporary situation.

How do you prove cohabitation?

If you want the court to order a termination of alimony based on cohabitation, the burden is on you to prove that it's happening. Fortunately, there are ways to do this, with the help of your attorney from a firm like Bray & Johnson Law Firm and (quite possibly) a private investigator.

The following sort of documentation can often be found through the use of video evidence and subpoenas:

  • Cell phone records can be used to prove where somebody has been living through geolocation records.

  • Video can capture the boyfriend or girlfriend of your ex-spouse leaving the house early in the morning to head to work, and coming home again at the end of the day.

  • Neighbors can be interviewed to find out if they commonly believe that the two are living in the home as a couple.

  • You can require the boyfriend or girlfriend to show that they are keeping a separate residence and mailing address.

  • You can get bank records and credit card statements that show they have commingled their funds, just like a couple that's married.

Once this sort of documentation is in hand, you can file a motion with the court to request that you be allowed to stop paying alimony. For more information on how to request a change in your alimony, talk to your attorney as soon as possible.