Proving cohabitation to stop alimony – introduction
Proving cohabitation to stop alimony is a frequently arising issue in family law court during spousal support modification.
Before discussing proving cohabitation to stop alimony, let’s look at what is cohabitation. Cohabitation is the situation of two people living together and having a sexual relationship without being married. Some people think that cohabitation is similar to being a roommate. That is not correct, there are much more involved – more close relationships, possibly sexual/romantic like, and financial support.
The effect of cohabitation on alimony is different I different states. In California, cohabitation would affect alimony. In some states, it may even affect child custody and support.
What is the effect of cohabitation to stop alimony in California?
If you receiving/ paying spousal support, your divorce judgment states the amount of alimony and how long are you receiving/paying it. In a short-term marriage, the alimony is usually half of the length of the marriage. In a long-term marriage, the alimony payment is usually open-ended.
If after the divorce, the former spouse who is receiving alimony cohabitates with someone with whom he/she has a relationship (including a same-sex) , there is a possibility to modify/terminate the alimony.
Proving cohabitation to stop alimony – ways to present evidence
- To hire a private investigator who can do surveillance showing to the court that someone lives with ex-spouse on regular bases y taking photos/videos multiple times/days It is not cheap, but on the long run could help a lot
- Discovery can help to gather documentary evidence – if there is shearing a lease, utilities, a mortgage or can show the two of them are living together.
- Issuing subpoena directly to ex-spouse or landlord/mortgage company
- Finding witnesses that can be a good way to prove cohabitation. For example, neighbors and friends are a proper source to do that
- The great way to prove cohabitation to stop alimony is to get the ex-spouse to admit it. It he/she does not admit it truthfully – it is the commitment of perjury? If he/she lie before a court and the reality hits that he/she lying about it under penalty of perjury there would be serious consequences beyond just a spousal support modification.
- It takes two people to cohabitate and you can subpoena the person with who your spouse is cohabitating and take their deposition.
Proving cohabitation to stop alimony – family law presumption
Under family Code 4324 , hen a supported party is cohabiting with a nonmarital partner, there is a rebuttable presumption, affecting the burden of proof, of a decreased need for support unless the parties agree otherwise in writing. It is not required that the supported party and the other person hold themselves out to be husband and wife. Cohabitation under the statute cannot be established, however, merely by something akin to a boarding house arrangement. Rather, there must be a sexual relationship, a romantic involvement, or at least a homemaker-companion relationship. 96 CA3d at 535. When cohabitation is found to exist, the burden is on the supported party to show that, despite the relationship, his or her need for support has not diminished.