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Category Archives: Alimony

What is “Cohabitation”, and How Can It Affect My Divorce Settlements?

Mendham NJ Alimony Modification AttorneyDuring any Morris County divorce, the key issues of alimony and child support are decided based upon the circumstances of both parties at the time of their divorce. If one of these remarries after the divorce, it can drastically change their financial circumstances, and as such warrant modifications to those agreements.

However, what happens when a divorced party doesn’t legally remarry, but chooses instead to enter into the kind of mutually supportive and intimate personal relationship normally associated with marriage or a civil union? This type of relationship is defined as “cohabitation”, and can have just as great an impact on existing alimony agreements that a remarriage or civil union could.


How Does NJ Law Define “Cohabitation”?

Chester, NJ Divorce Settlement Modification Lawyers

As previously mentioned, New Jersey legislature has defined cohabitation as being a “mutually supportive, intimate personal relationship in which a couple has undertaken duties and privileges that are commonly associated with marriage or civil union.”

This doesn’t necessarily that the couple needs to be living together full-time in order for a court to find that a cohabitative relationship exists, rather, the courts will consider the following factors when determining whether or not a couple is cohabitating:

  • If the couple shares finances like joint bank accounts or shared holdings and/or liabilities
  • If the couple share responsibilities for living expenses
  • Recognition of the relationship by family and social cicles
  • Whether or not the couple is living together, and if not, the frequency of contact, and the duration of the relationship in question
  • If the couple shares household chores
  • Any other evidence the court deems relevant

These factors for cohabitation were established through a variety of previous cases, and have now been grouped together and defined in New Jersey’s alimony statute N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(n).


How Can Cohabitation Affect My Alimony Settlement?

Mendham, NJ Alimony Modification Attorney

If a party who is paying alimony to a former spouse believes that that spouse has entered into a cohabitative relationship with another adult, the supporting party may wish to pursue an alimony modification petition. In the case of a remarriage, proving that the dependent spouse now has another source of financial support, and thus may no longer require as much as support as is currently being paid in the existing agreement, is relatively straightforward.

In the case of cohabitation, however, proving that cohabitation exists can be somewhat more difficult. For example, it may be particularly difficult to know, or prove, whether or not your former spouse is sharing a bank account with their new partner. This is where the legal idea of “prima facie” comes into play. Prima facie basically means that there is suggestive evidence for something at first appearance, and in the case of cohabitation, as long as you can demonstrate evidence which suggests your former spouse may be cohabitating with another adult, the courts will move your case into the discovery phase, meaning you and your Mendham, NJ alimony modification attorney can request that financial documents be provided by your former spouse in a process known as discovery.

By having access to things like bank records, living expenses, and legal interviews in the form of depositions through the discovery process, you and your attorney can obtain the evidence necessary to definitively proving that a cohabitative relationship exists, one which warrants a modification to your existing alimony agreement.

If you are receiving alimony payments, and are in a romantic relationship with another adult, you should take a serious look at the factors outlined above in order to gain a better understanding of whether or not your romantic relationship will affect your entitlement to alimony.


Morristown Spousal Support Lawyers Help Clients in Modification Hearings

At The Law Office of Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our attorneys have extensive experience helping clients across Chester, Mendham, Chatham, Harding, Morristown, and the greater Morris County area with post-divorce modification proceedings of all kinds, including alimony modifications.

Whether you are currently paying alimony to a party who has entered into a cohabitative relationship, or have begun a relationship with another adult which may affect your existing alimony agreement, our firm is ready to provide you with the knowledgeable, effective, and compassionate legal counsel that you need and deserve in matters which have such potential to impact your financial responsibilities and stability. By practicing exclusively family and divorce law, our attorneys can focus on the issues most important to you and your family, staying current in New Jersey family law, and refine our ability to work closely with each client, and keep them informed and involved throughout the legal process.

To speak with our firm today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your divorce, alimony agreement, or alimony modification concern, please contact us online, or through our Morristown, NJ office at (973) 828-0829.

Ensuring Full and Accurate Financial Information during Divorce

During any divorce, it is critical that your Morris County divorce attorney has a complete and accurate picture of your marital finances so that they can help you to fairly decide issues such as child support, alimony, and most importantly, division of marital assets and debt. When both spouses participated in the management of family… Continue Reading

Planning Alimony Modifications in Advance of Retirement

While it is always important to plan your finances with an eye on the long-term, it can be especially important for alimony payors who are thinking about retiring. When an individual who is paying alimony retires, it is natural for them to want to reduce alimony payments in accordance with the change in circumstance of… Continue Reading

Why You Should Never Make “Side-Deals” for Divorce Property Settlement Agreements

One of the most important documents you will negotiate for, and sign, before your divorce can be granted is what is known as the property settlement agreement (PSA). The property settlement agreement will outline your financial and parental rights and obligations following the divorce, and decides key divorce issues such as child custody, child support,… Continue Reading

Bad Divorce Advice Commonly Given to Women

Going through a divorce is usually difficult, both financially and emotionally. Issues such as child custody, child support, division of assets, and alimony can easily overwhelm you, and its common for people to turn to friends and family for advice in times like these. While many of your friends and family members may have gone… Continue Reading

Taxes and Divorce

Divorcing individuals often have questions about tax their considerations and how they are affected by their divorce. While most divorce attorneys will urge you to speak with a financial consultant about your post-divorce finances and obligations, we can look at some of the more frequently asked questions regarding divorce and taxes. Should I file my… Continue Reading

Morris County Lawyers Raise Questions about Alimony and Cohabitation

A recent Morris County, case pending decision raises some interesting questions regarding alimony and cohabitation. Must the payor of alimony continue to fulfill his/her obligation when their ex-spouse is cohabiting with another person? In the case in question, William and Yvonne Kloehn divorced in 2007 after 22 years years of marriage. William alleges that his… Continue Reading

“Why should I hire a divorce attorney?”

The advent of the internet and the rising accessibility to information it offers has had some interesting consequences for “do-it-yourselfers”. Youtube hosts thousands of videos informing viewers how to do things as diverse as putting in a new floor to building a car engine. But how does this access to information affect divorce and family… Continue Reading

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