Your spousal support obligation when your ex is cohabitating with another

| Apr 22, 2021 | Uncategorized |

You’re on the hook for a significant period of spousal support following your divorce — and the changes in the tax laws that prohibit you from deducting that support are rather painful.

Naturally, you’re eager to get out of paying the support if you can — and you’ve heard through the grapevine that your ex-spouse has taken up residence with someone new. Will their cohabitation with another be enough to end your support obligation?

Maybe — but don’t count on it.

How cohabitation does — and does not — matter to the court

Your ex-spouse’s cohabitation with another isn’t enough, on its own, to convince a court that your support should terminate.

As a reflection of the times and changing social conventions, the law doesn’t equate “cohabitation” to the idea that one party is now financially supporting the other party. Nor are the respective genders of the two people involved a factor.

For example, your ex-wife could be cohabitating with another man purely because they are friends and decided to cut their living expenses down by sharing a home. That’s not justification for the court to terminate her spousal support. (Just as easily, she could be living with another woman in a romantic relationship, and that could be enough to end your support obligation.)

Essentially, there’s no presumption either way that two people who are living together are (or are not) romantically involved. To get your support obligation modified, you would need to offer compelling evidence that the two people are an actual couple, basically “holding out” like they are married.

Good evidence would be an engagement announcement in the paper, evidence of joint accounts (bank, credit or loans) and generally behaving as a romantic couple to the community.

What to do if you suspect your ex has move on

If you think your ex has moved on and they’re just milking you for the spousal support, it’s time to get some solid assistance. An attorney can help you better understand what needs to happen next.