Once you have put married life behind, you may be a bit more reluctant to get into a legal relationship with someone else. While living together without the "benefit" of marriage has become increasingly common, some divorced individuals may need to think twice about it. Alimony, also known as spousal support, is usually meant to support a divorced spouse financially and is often suspended when that person remarries. In some cases, however, alimony can be lost when that divorced spouse cohabits. Read on to learn more about the effects of cohabitation on alimony.
No legal relationship: The instances of couples choosing to live together has increased exponentially in recent years. Often, divorced individuals are loathe to become legally bound to another and opt for the simplicity and flexibility of a cohabited relationship. The connection between financial support and cohabitation is not so simple however.
The need for continued support: Spouses who are ill or elderly, or who gave up a career or education to raise children are usually the receiving party when it comes to alimony. This form of financial support can be either permanent or temporary (rehabilitative), but it almost always will end with a remarriage. The need for continued alimony comes down to how much support the spouse is receiving as a result of this living arrangement.
Understanding the financial situation: If your former spouse is challenging your need to alimony now that you have moved in with someone else, you may need to take close look at your budget and exactly how much your partner is contributing to your living expenses. Each and every situation is different, and just because you are living with someone doesn't mean they are supporting you, regardless of how it might appear to your former spouse who is paying your support. You should be prepared to defend you living arrangements, specifically the amount of money coming from your partner, if challenged in court.
Questions to consider: When determining exactly how "supportive" your partner is, ask yourself the following questions that will be likely on the mind of the family court judge at your alimony alteration hearing:
- How much income is being earned, and who is earning it?
- Do you share any joint bank accounts with your partner?
- What are your current living expenses (rent, mortgage, car payments, etc.).
- Do you and your partner share joint debts?
Speak to your divorce or family law attorney, someone from a place like Christena Silvey Coleman CSC Law, LLC, for more information about the effect cohabitation could have on your ability to receive alimony payments.