In most divorces, alimony is a big issue. One spouse wants it for life, and the other doesn't think they should have to pay it at all. For a long time, under certain circumstances, a dependent spouse could expect to receive alimony for life, regardless of what occurred in the future. However, the cohabitation and alimony laws changed in 2014 in New Jersey with regard to alimony and cohabitation. Now, in some cases, if an ex who receives alimony lives with another person, the spouse paying alimony can apply to the court to have the alimony terminated. However, it's not as easy as it sounds.
The spouse paying the alimony must prove that their ex is cohabitating with their new partner, which is more than dating, N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23, allows alimony to be suspended or terminated if the person receiving alimony cohabitates with another person in a way that is associated with marriage or civil union. Under the statute, the people cohabitating must be in a jointly supportive, intimate personal relationship.
Factors to consider to determine cohabitation include:
a. The length of the ex's relationship with their new partner;
b. The ex and their new partner are commingling their finances such as joint back or credit card accounts, or sharing living expenses such as mortgage, rent payments, utilities;
c. Neighbors, friends and family consider the relationship as a committed and intimate one such as attending holidays, weddings or funerals together;
d. Sharing household duties;
e. how they refer to themselves (boyfriend/girlfriend, fiance, etc...)This is just a short summary of a complicated area of the law that. If you have any questions about alimony, please do not hesitate to contact me for an in-depth consultation.
All the best!
Randy C. Redden