What happens to alimony if an ex-spouse starts cohabitating?

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2022 | Uncategorized |

When New Jersey residents begin the process of a divorce, they may hope for a clean break from their spouse when the divorce is complete. It doesn’t always work out that way.

If the spouses have children together, they will have to continue to work together to raise their children. There also may be financial obligations that continue after the divorce. These are potentially child support and/or alimony. These payments can last for many years as well.

Life changes

Child support is for the economic support of the children, while alimony is to ensure that the former spouse’s financial needs continue to be met after the divorce. The amount of alimony payments is based on a number of factors, but overall, the amount and duration is based on the need of the spouse at the time of the divorce, and the other spouse’s ability to pay. However, life changes and the needs of the former spouse may change over the years. This is especially true if they remarry or begin living with a new significant other.

Based on these changes, the amount they need to meet their monthly expenses may change. If another person is contributing to the finances, that will be taken into account when determining the former spouse’s ongoing financial needs. The law is clear that if the former spouse remarries, alimony payments will cease. Knowing this, some divorced people may choose to simply live with a new significant other instead of marrying them.

Factors used to determine cohabitation

This is known as cohabitation and it can also be a basis to terminate or suspend alimony payments, but certain factors must be established to demonstrate that they are in fact cohabitating. These factors include, but are not limited to:

  • Having joint bank accounts with the significant other.
  • Sharing the monthly expenses and chores of the home.
  • The type of contact they have and the duration of the relationship.
  • Whether friends and family recognize the two as being in relationship.
  • Any other relevant factors that show the former spouse is cohabitating.

Former spouses in New Jersey usually like their alimony payments and begin to rely on them as part of their income each month. So, they may try to avoid remarriage even after they find a new significant other. However, simply choosing to share a life together instead of marrying them will not necessarily allow them to circumvent the laws regarding