When Financial Circumstances Change
Typically, alimony may only be modified if there has been a significant change in circumstances. Cohabitation with a new partner by the receiving spouse is an example of a change in circumstances that could warrant an alimony modification. But how does the law define cohabitation? And how does cohabitation affect alimony? Let’s take a look.
How Is Cohabitation Legally Defined?
Generally speaking, cohabitation is two adults living together in the same residence in a committed relationship. But the law recognizes a more flexible definition that can be defined by several factors, including:
- Sharing financial responsibilities (paying each other’s bills, splitting expenses)
- Sharing household responsibilities (taking care of each other’s children, maintaining the house)
- Intermingling finances (sharing accounts and assets)
- A promise of financial support (from the new partner to the cohabiting spouse)
- Living together (either part time or full time)
- Holding oneself out to be married in one’s social and family circle
The court will also consider the length and nature of the cohabitation relationship. As you can see, cohabitation can mean many things, not just living together in a committed relationship. The court will consider the above factors when determining whether or not the receiving spouse is cohabiting in a financially beneficial relationship.
To claim cohabitation, you must prove your spouse no longer needs your financial support because of one or several of the factors listed above. Remember; living together alone does not—in and of itself—constitute grounds for modifying alimony. And proving cohabitation doesn’t necessarily mean the alimony obligation will end entirely. If the receiving spouse is still dependent on the alimony, it might be reduced. If the receiving spouse can’t prove an ongoing financial need or is receiving direct support from his or her new partner, it might be terminated completely.
You should speak with an experienced New Jersey matrimonial attorney if you have questions about alimony modification because of cohabitation. Seeking a reduction or termination of alimony can be difficult, and you may need to prove your spouse is cohabiting in a financially beneficial relationship. An attorney can explain the process and requirements for modifying alimony and help you request a modification that will reflect the current financial circumstances of the alimony receiver.
If you have questions about modifying alimony, the Williams Law Group, LLC is here to help. The experienced attorneys at Williams Law Group, LLC can help you navigate the divorce process from start to finish. Located in Union, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at email@example.com, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation and ultimately get you connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.