What is the cohabitation rule about alimony?

On Behalf of | Jan 8, 2020 | Divorce |

If you pay alimony in New Jersey, the court likely gave you an end date when you will no longer have to pay. You may also not get an end date in some situations. However, regardless of whether the court put a time limit on the payments, certain circumstances could end the alimony. One of those is if your former spouse lives with a romantic partner.

The rules for this exception changed with the Alimony Reform Act, according to NJ.com. Referred to by the court as cohabitation, your ex-spouse does not have to actually live with his or her romantic partner anymore for it to qualify under this exception. However, you still must prove cohabitation under the court’s definition.

Proof of cohabitation

Before this act, you had to show solid proof that your former spouse and his or her current partner lived in the same home. The issue with that was some people would maintain two separate homes and stay unmarried just to keep the spousal support payments coming. This was not fair to the person paying.

The act changed so that proof is easier to come by. Your former spouse and her or his current partner do not have to share a residence in the same sense. You just need to prove that they have a marital-like relationship and significant time in one home together.

Court requirements

The court has a set of factors it considers when making a cohabitation ruling. Some of the factors the judge will consider include the following:

  • Do they share household chores?
  • Do their family and friends recognize their relationship as significant?
  • Are they often in each other’s homes?
  • Do they have joint accounts or manage their finances together?

Despite the change in the rules for proving cohabitation, it is not easy to prove. You will need extensive evidence. Plus, the judge will need to feel that the evidence adds up enough to justify that the relationship exists as you propose it does.