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Cohabitation And Alimony In New Jersey

Are you currently divorced and receiving alimony? Do you depend on that money to support yourself each month? If so, then do not be too quick to move in with your new significant other. This, in legal terms, is called cohabitation and if you live with or are supported by an unrelated person, your former spouse can ask the courts to modify or terminate the alimony payment you are currently receiving.

The family courts will ask for proof from both sides, but it is something to consider very carefully before making adjustments to your current living arrangements. If either you or the person you have begun to cohabitate with is receiving alimony payments, you cannot count on those funds continuing to support you if either of your former spouses can show that your economic circumstances have changed due to the cohabitation. It is not the responsibility of one spouse to support his or her ex-spouse and their new partner. The person paying the alimony can engage in a two-step process in the New Jersey family courts in order to ask that alimony be reduced or stopped altogether.

First Step: Establish Cohabitation

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The first thing your former spouse has to do is show that the person receiving the alimony has been engaging in cohabitation. This allows the courts to presume that the financial needs of the alimony receiving spouse have changed or been reduced. This would be a reason to modify or terminate alimony payments.

Second Step: Show Effect On Economic Status

Now, the situation has to be evaluated by the family courts. It has to determine that the change in living circumstances has had a significant effect on the economic status of the spouse. If your former spouse is either receiving support from his or her cohabitation partner or if he or she is using alimony money to support his or her new partner, then there is a good chance the alimony agreement will be altered in some way.

Marital Settlement Agreements

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Today, most attorneys will address this issue before it even comes into play, by preparing a martial settlement agreement which spells out what effect cohabitation will have on any alimony obligations that need to be met by the other spouse. It is always a good idea to have these terms agreed upon before the divorce is finalized because it makes for less court related issues and costs at a later date. If you are currently in the process of obtaining a divorce, it is a good idea to ask your attorney to include this issue in your initial divorce agreement.

If for whatever reason, these terms were not outlined by a marital settlement agreement, then the Courts will decide the issue based on New Jersey case law. This means they will look at other case rulings on this issue and use those as a basis for their ruling in your individual case.

Additionally, if the spouse who is cohabitating does not appear before the court to rebut the changed economic circumstances argument put forth in front of the court, then the alimony payor will in all probability be able to terminate the alimony payment.

Call Villani & DeLuca, P.C. Today

Have you been paying alimony and have learned that your spouse is cohabitating with someone? Do you think he or she is using your alimony payment to support the new partner? Do you feel that your ex-spouse's new partner is financially supporting your ex-spouse to the extent that he or she no longer needs your economic or financial support? You will have to prove this to the courts, but it is possible to get your alimony payment reduced or terminated.

The first step is to speak with an experienced family law attorney who is familiar with case histories in New Jersey and how to best illustrate to New Jersey courts that your ex-spouse's financial situation has changed since the cohabitation began. If you wish to attempt to have your alimony payments altered or ended due to cohabitation, contact Villani & DeLuca, P.C. today.

Serving Ocean and Monmouth County, our attorneys at Villani & DeLuca, P.C. have the experience you need to navigate this situation and help to ensure the best possible outcome for you. Call our offices at 732-751-4991 today for a consultation. We are here to help!

Vincent DeLuca, Esq.

As a founding partner at Villani & DeLuca, Vincent DeLuca is one of only a few Certified Matrimonial Law Attorney in Ocean County, New Jersey. Mr. DeLuca has helped many clients navigate the delicate details of their own divorce. Mr. DeLuca is also a trained divorce mediator and collaborative divorce attorney. Call today at (732) 751-4991 to speak to Mr. DeLuca or one of our experienced NJ Divorce Lawyers.