The effects of cohabitation on alimony

Florida residents may be interested in the way cohabitation affects alimony. When a couple divorces, one spouse may pay alimony to the other for sustenance and to help them become self-sufficient. Spousal support may be limited or it may continue until the spouse receiving alimony remarries. However, cohabitation without remarriage may occur and in this case alimony does not necessarily stop.

The rules concerning the effect cohabitation has on alimony differ in various states but in most cases proof is dependent on showing that the new couple are living in a way suggestive of a married couple. The question of proof can be difficult, however. Financial and social sharing of duties and living expenses are two areas that may be used to satisfy proof. If a couple shares rent, food or utility bills, this may show cohabitation. Social factors such as helping with child rearing or vacationing together indicate a couple are living in a situation that reflects marriage.

Hiring a private investigator may be prohibitive but provide ways to document cohabitation. For example, photos showing the couple entering the residence in the evening and leaving in the morning may help to prove this type of relationship. Changes in the spending habits of an ex-spouse that are not commensurate with normal financial capability may indicate that additional funds are contributed by a cohabitant. Cell tower data is another method of providing location on a 24-hour basis.

Showing that an ex-spouse's financial position has changed through the contributions of another may result in a modification or termination of an alimony obligation. An attorney with experience in family law may be able to assist a client who is seeking such a result.

Source: The Huffington Post, "He Said/She Said: How to Demonstrate Cohabitation in an Alimony Dispute", Diane L. Danois, J.D., February 21, 2014

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