Exactly What Constitutes a Co-habitation That Would End Alimony?

Does moving in together automatically end alimony for a financially-dependent ex-spouse?

Does not moving in together guarantee that same ex-spouse that the ex will continue paying alimony?

New Jersey’s alimony law says:

"Alimony may be suspended or terminated if the [recipient of alimony] cohabits with another person."

Sounds easy enough, right?

Not so fast.

Because the same law also says, “A court may not find an absence of cohabitation solely on grounds that the couple does not live together on a full-time basis.”

Well, what the hell does THAT mean?

It means that if a woman who is receiving alimony has a boyfriend, and “…the couple does not live together on a full-time basis…”, that fact alone is not enough for a Judge to conclude that “cohabitation” is not taking place.

Weird, right?

I mean, come on…isn’t cohabitation just another way of saying “living together”?

Not under NJ alimony law it is not.

The NJ alimony statute goes on to try to define exactly what a situation is that WOULD constitute “cohabitation” such that alimony would end by saying, “Cohabitation involves a mutually supportive, intimate personal relationship in which a couple has undergone duties and privileges that are commonly associated with marriage …but does not necessarily maintain a single common household.”

So people can be “cohabiting” for purposes of this law even if they live in two different places.

Well then what’s the test of cohabitation?

The statute tells us:

“When assessing whether cohabitation is occurring, the court shall consider the following:

(1) Intertwined finances such as joint bank accounts and other joint holdings or liabilities;

(2) Sharing or joint responsibility for living expenses;

(3) Recognition of the relationship in the couples' social and family circles;

(4) Living together, the frequency of contact, the duration of the relationship, and other indicia of a mutually supportive intimate personal relationship;

(5) Sharing household chores;

(6) Whether the recipient of alimony has received an enforceable promise of support from another person within the meaning of Subsection "h" or R.S.25:1‑5; and

(7) All other relevant evidence.

Furthermore, the law says that “In evaluating whether cohabitation is occurring and whether alimony should be suspended or terminated, the court shall also consider the length of the relationship.”

I just wanted to clear that up…(lol)

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Topics: Alimony