If you are paying alimony to your ex, it may frustrate you to find out he or she is now sharing a home with a new romantic partner. Typically, spousal support ends if the receiving party remarries. However, the obligation to pay spousal support generally continues even if your ex-spouse is living with someone else. There are two exceptions to this rule.
The first exception is if your marital settlement agreement states that support ends upon cohabitation with another. Marital settlement agreements often provide that a party can suspend, modify or terminate the obligation to pay alimony if the recipient spouse continuously lives with an unrelated person for a specified period of time. It is important to word this provision carefully because it may provide opportunities for the recipient to avoid the clause by interrupting their living arrangement for a few days. For instance, if the agreement says they must live together for 60 consecutive days, they could get around this by living together for 55 days and then spending 5 days apart or periodically, spending a weekend someplace else. One way to minimize the risk of this is by having the clause go into effect if the recipient lives with someone else for “60 of the last 90 days.”
The second exception applies where the recipient spouse is living with another person in a marriage-like relationship. Under New York law, the payor spouse may apply to the court for a modification of the spousal support award on such grounds. However, you must prove that your ex-spouse “is habitually living with another person and holding himself or herself out as the spouse of such other person, although not married to such other person.” The judge has the discretion to modify or terminate spousal support if your ex-spouse is living with someone else if you prove your case.
If you are considering divorce or already divorced, but looking to modify the terms of support, contact us. We can help you achieve the best results in your case.