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Can cohabitation end a spousal support obligation in New York?

On Behalf of | Apr 12, 2022 | Divorce

Your financial future is at stake in your divorce proceedings. We don’t say that to frighten you, but instead to stress the importance of being prepared to address the legal issues that await you.

Yet, even once all is said and done in your divorce case you may find yourself confronting challenges that still impact your financial stability. This often happens to those who have been ordered to pay spousal support, as the individual who receives the support tends to have changed circumstances at one point or another that warrants a modification of the support order.

This modification may increase or decrease the support amount, or it may cease the obligation altogether. If you’re a paying spouse, then you may be looking for any justification to seek modification and reduce your payment responsibility.

How cohabitation can affect a support obligation

In most cases, alimony is meant to support a former spouse until he or she can become financially independent. This may mean obtaining an education or securing a job, but new relationships can also affect an individual’s financial standing. But some receiving spouse know this and therefore try to hide their relationships.

But even cohabitation can warrant a modification of spousal support, especially when that relationship is supportive in nature. In order to bring a stop to your support obligation, though, you’re going to have to file a motion with the court and present evidence of the cohabitation and the nature of the relationship.

How do you prove cohabitation?

Cohabitation can be trickier to prove than you think. But with a little diligence, you may be able to gather sufficient evidence to support your position. So, how do you go about gathering that evidence? Here are a few steps that you can take:

  • Ask your former spouse about a new love interest in his or her life, trying to gauge if they live together
  • Scan social media to see if you can find indications not only of a new relationship, but also whether the couple is living together or your former spouse is otherwise receiving support from that new relationship
  • Figure out where your spouse goes after work and where he or she leaves in the morning, which may require investigator assistance
  • Determine who is paying for utilities at the new residence
  • Talk to neighbors to try to figure out how much time your former spouse is spending at the home of his or her new love interest

Remember, these are just a few of the steps that you can take to determine if cohabitation is occurring. But we caution you to make sure that you’re not overstepping your bounds in a way that will get you into trouble. That’s one reason why it may be helpful for you to navigate this issue with assistance from an experienced family law attorney.

What a family law attorney can do for you

An attorney who is experienced in these matters can help you gather evidence and present it in a persuasive fashion. This increases your chances of obtaining the results that you desire. We know that there’s a lot of emotions wrapped up in these sorts of disputes, which can make it difficult to see things objectively and ensure that arguments are fact-based rather than emotion-based.

But that’s why firms like ours are here to help. We lift the burden from our clients’ shoulders by working to build the compelling cases that they need on their side. If that kind of representation sounds appealing to you, then please continue to read our website to learn more about what we have to offer.