Alimony can be a burden on your finances. Even though you are legally required to pay it, chances are you would rather be spending your money on something else.
This may be especially frustrating when you know that your ex is in a new relationship. When your ex is building a new life with someone else, it can feel unfair that you have to keep paying alimony.
In some situations, you may not have to.
Cohabitation could put an end to alimony
In recent years, New Jersey updated its alimony laws to make it easier for people to end payments if their ex-spouse no longer needs them. The rule says that if your ex cohabitates with her new partner, you don't have to keep paying.
Let's say you know or suspect that your ex and her partner are living together or at least have some level of dependency upon one another. In order to have your alimony order lifted, you will have to prove that they are cohabitating. The court considers the following things to be indicative of cohabitation:
- How often they are together. Do they live together? See each other every day? Every other day? The court wants to know that their relationship is serious.
- They split costs. In the court's eyes, sharing living expenses is a sign of an established relationship.
- Their friends and family know. Have they spent holidays with his family? Gone out for drinks with her friends? These are clear signs that their social circle knows about their relationship.
- They share household responsibilities, which shows they are committed to each other.
- They share finances. The court takes joint bank accounts or other joint holdings as a sign of a supportive relationship that may no longer require your financial support.
- Your ex has an enforceable promise of support from someone else. If someone else has, in writing, agreed to support your ex in some way, it can play a role in putting an end to your alimony obligations.
Maybe you saw on Facebook that your ex spent Thanksgiving with her boyfriend's family. Or maybe your kids mentioned something about Mom and her friend moving in together. Or maybe they have lived together for some time and you were unaware of the law.
Whatever your specific situation may be, it is important to talk to a lawyer if you think your ex is cohabitating. It could mean relief from alimony.