Proving cohabitation to stop alimony payments

On Behalf of | Dec 20, 2021 | Divorce |

Those who have been ordered to pay alimony can end up facing financial challenges. This is especially true when the alimony order lingers for a significant period of time. While most alimony orders are only meant to be temporary in nature, some individuals try to game the system to ensure that they continue to receive their spousal support payments even when they’re not supposed to.

This is often seen in instances where a receiving spouse starts cohabitating with another individual. Under New Jersey law, spousal support should be modified, suspended, or end in these circumstances. But proving cohabitation can be more difficult than you think.

New Jersey’s law on cohabitation

 When considering whether cohabitation exists, a New Jersey court will consider a number of factors. Amongst them are:

  • Whether the receiving individual has intertwined his or her finances with that of another
  • Whether the receiving individual is sharing living expenses with someone else
  • Evidence that a relationship exists
  • The receiving individual lives with someone else
  • Household chores are shared

The court has the ability to consider any other evidence that it deems relevant to its determination, too, which gives you a lot of leeway to try to prove that cohabitation has occurred.

How do you go about proving cohabitation?

Now that you know what the court may consider when addressing cohabitation, you might find yourself asking how to go about proving those elements. Here are some tips that might help you address the matter:

  • Monitor social media: If you’re able to view your former spouse’s social media pages, then you might want to check them periodically for evidence of cohabitation. You may see pictures of your former spouse with a new love interest, or he or she may talk about moving into a new residence with someone else. Make sure that you’re taking screen shots of these posts so that you have evidence to support your position.
  • Search public records: Sometimes a simple public records search can show that your former spouse is now living with someone else.
  • Private investigator surveillance: A private investigator can monitor your former spouse’s movements and any residences where he or she is suspected to reside. Photographs and logs of contact with someone else can help address the factors mentioned above.
  • Ask pointed questions: Sometimes merely asking your former spouse about his or her relationship with another individual can give you snippets of information that you can use to support your position. You can sometimes catch them in a lie, too, which can destroy their credibility.
  • Request financial records: Since you have a divorce case before the court, you can request that the court order release of your former spouse’s financial records. These documents may show that he or she is mixing his or her finances with someone else, which would be indicative of a cohabitation relationship under New Jersey law.

Competently address your spousal support issues

 Divorce matters can quickly become complicated, even well after your divorce decree is issued. And the implications for an improperly handled divorce legal issue can be significant. So, if you want to position yourself for success on these matters, then you need to know the law and how to aggressively apply it to your set of circumstances. This isn’t always an easy feat, though, which is why you may benefit from the assistance of a legal professional who is experienced in dealing with these matters. So, if you’re facing challenging alimony issues, then we encourage you to research your representation options and choose the one that is right for you.