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Should you still play alimony if your ex is cohabitating?

On Behalf of | Dec 9, 2019 | divorce | 0 comments

You might not have any issue paying alimony to your ex-spouse as they transition into their post-divorce life in Henrietta. Yet your willingness may be contingent on the understanding that such support is not meant to be permanent; rather, it is only meant to continue until your ex-spouse is able to either support themselves or they remarry. Yet even after entering into a new relationship, your ex-spouse may try to continue to keep you obligated to pay alimony by refusing to remarry. This prompts the question of whether an actual marriage is needed in order to end your alimony obligation.

Cohabitation is becoming an increasingly popular living arrangement, yet even so, no new statutes have been enacted addressing how it may relate to an ongoing alimony obligation. Your ex-spouse may indeed be enjoying the financial interdependence that comes with a supportive relationship, yet could still claim that the lack of a ring on their finger requires that you continue to pay them alimony.

New York state court rulings have addressed these scenarios. It has been determined that the standard for a supportive relationship goes beyond a couple presenting themselves to others as a married couple (even if they are not), but rather whether a third party viewing their financial interactions would believe them to be operating as a single interdependent financial unit.

What does this mean to you? To justify modifying or ending your alimony obligation, you would need to prove to the court that your ex-spouse and their new partner are doing things such as:

  • Sharing utility and living costs
  • Sharing a home and/or a car
  • Traveling together
  • Buying groceries and other necessities together
  • Opening joint financial accounts

All of these actions could be seen as evidence of interdependence, and thus end your need to pay alimony.