When a married couple separates or gets a divorce, a frequent point of conversation and contention is financial support. Many times, when one ex-spouse will suffer financially due to the divorce, the family court will order the other ex-spouse to pay alimony for a specific period of time to ensure that there are no unfair economic consequences of the divorce for either party. The obligation of alimony can be ordered after the property is divided and Child Support is awarded. Although alimony is a simple way for both parties to maintain a similar lifestyle to what they had when married, the abuse of alimony due to cohabitation or a supportive relationship is a serious problem that can leave the obligated alimony provider at a disadvantage.
Alimony is meant to even out the playing field for both ex-spouses. Once the scale favors the dependent over the payer due to a new partner and living situation, it may be time to bring in the alimony investigators in Monmouth County, NJ, at Cowan Investigations to determine cohabitation or a supportive relationship to stop or reduce alimony payments.
What is Cohabitation?
In general terms, cohabitation is a situation in which two adults live together; but, this explanation does not fully encapsulate the full legal definition. According to the revised Alimony Law of 2014 (NJ Rev Stat § 2A:34-23), cohabitation “involves a mutually supportive, intimate personal relationship” in which both the payee ex-spouse and his or her new partner engage in the privileges and duties usually associated with marriage, including:
- Living together
- Shared finances (joint bank account, etc.)
- Shared responsibility for living expenses
- A long-lasting, intimate, and supportive relationship
All of the above options are evidence of cohabitation, and not all the evidence will present itself or even exist in all situations. However, if enough evidence is collected that proves that the payee ex-spouse is not dependent or entirely-dependent on alimony payments, the court could order the termination or reduction of payments.
What is the Difference between Cohabitation & Supportive Relationships?
Cohabitation and supportive relationships are technically just different sides of the same coin. A supportive relationship is a relationship in which the dependent ex-spouse receives financial support from a new partner and partakes in the benefits and jobs usually associated with married couples. In the years before New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed the Alimony Law in 2014, cohabitation required evidence that both the alimony payee and his or her new partner lived in the same space; however, today cohabitation can still be proven, even if both partners occupy separate spaces. As long as a private investigator can find evidence of an existing supportive relationship as well as a number of days the couple spend overnights together. With the right evidence obtained, a case for cohabitation and alimony termination or modification is viable.
If you are currently paying alimony to an ex-spouse who you suspect is living with another partner and/or engaging in a supportive relationship with said partner, you need an alimony and background investigator in Bergen County, NJ, or another New Jersey area. Once you retain this N.J Private investigator to determine cohabitation, present the evidence in court, you are in a position to reduce or eliminate your alimony payments. Call Cowan Investigations today for more information and a free consultation!