First Step: Establish Cohabitation
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
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.