FAMILY LAW... & MORE

Does cohabitation end the need for alimony?

| Aug 17, 2020 | Alimony |

When you are the primary income earner in your marital home in Marlton, you understand the impact that your divorce may have on your ex-spouse’s financial stability. This understanding may make it easier for you to accept the need to provide them with financial support through alimony as they transition into their post-divorce life.

What you do not want, however, is for your ex-spouse to take advantage of you. Yet they may believe that by refusing to remarry (even after they enter into a relationship with a new romantic partner), they can do just that (thinking that by remaining unmarried, you remain obligated to pay them alimony). Is that truly the case?

Defining the purpose of alimony

The court awards an alimony obligation in order to support one who cannot sustain the standard of living they enjoyed while married on their own. It is not meant to be punitive towards the more professionally successful spouse. Yet that may be how your ex-spouse intends for it to be by keeping you obligated to pay it. Fortunately for you, local family courts do not give merit to such tactics. Per Section 2A.34-23 of New Jersey’s state statutes, if your ex-spouse enters into a cohabitating supportive relationship, your obligation to pay alimony may end.

Proving your ex-spouse is in a supportive relationship

Yet the fact of your ex-spouse being in a committed relationship may not be enough to prove cohabitation on its own. You may need to support such a claim by providing evidence of the following:

  • Your ex-spouse intermingling their finances and sharing financial responsibilities with their new partner
  • The two of them sustaining frequent intimate contact and presenting their relationship in their social and family circles
  • The two of them sharing domestic responsibilities

Indeed, if the aforementioned circumstances exists, the two need not necessarily live together to meet the state’s definition of cohabitation.