Alimony and cohabitation
For many Ohio divorcees, spousal support payments are just one of the many realities of life after the end of a marriage. However, there may be hope for ending these alimony payments early if the necessary conditions can be satisfied.
For those who have a legal obligation to pay alimony to a former spouse, the payment can be an emotional monthly reminder of the marriage. It is natural for a spouse to look for ways to end the monthly commitment. Generally, there are three conditions that allow it: death, remarriage or cohabitation. The first two are self-explanatory, but cohabitation requires some explanation. Merely having a new partner stay overnight is usually not enough to make the required showing of cohabitation.
In order to prove cohabitation, the spouse seeking to terminate alimony must present evidence of both social and financial interdependence. This can include proof of joint bank accounts, both partners’ names on a car loan or sharing household responsibilities like babysitting or mowing lawns. Usually evidence is gathered by a private investigator. This can be expensive, so experts recommend doing an initial assessment before hiring one. The assessment should look for things like multiple consecutive overnight stays per week, telling children to deny the cohabitation and even leaving a toothbrush behind.
An attorney with experience in family law matters could then review the evidence in order to determine whether a court will find the required interdependence. The next step is filing for the motion to terminate alimony with the appropriate court. One important point, however, is to weigh the cost of retaining experts to assist in terminating the alimony versus paying it through the end of the agreement.
Source: The Huffington Post, “How to Evaluate if Cohabitation Has Placed Alimony at Risk“, Diane Danois, March 21, 2014