Prior to 2005 it was more difficult to end alimony payment obligations. Under the old statutes, remarriage could be used as a means of termination, so instead of remarrying, many spouses would simply live with their new partner. In 2005, the statutes were changed so that if a spouse receiving alimony payments was living in a supportive relationship with another person, the alimony payments could be terminated. The one condition for this is that the paying spouse is responsible for providing proof that the receiving spouse is in such a relationship.
The courts have a series of criteria that they use to determine whether the cohabitation relationship is a supportive relationship. Included is the length of time the two people have been living together and the extent to which the couple (if it is a couple) has acted as though they are married. In addition, the extent to which the two people have combined their finances, including both income and assets, is taken into consideration. The amount of support the people in the relationship have given each other and the length of time that support has been given and whether there is support for the other person’s children are the final criteria.
This issue is complex. The number of factors the Court shall consider, the amount of evidence that needs to be gathered and presented, and the burden of proof on the paying spouse makes this matter more complicated. The defense against or claim for a basis for termination alimony due to a “supportive relationship” usually results in an evidentiary hearing before a judge. Therefore, in order to ensure that your rights are protected to the utmost, you need the help of an experienced lawyer.
It is important to remember that when it comes to alimony, there are many shades of gray. Whether you think that your alimony payments should be terminated or your ex-spouse is attempting to terminate your payments, Heather Byrd is experienced in handling these types of cases and reaching the best possible outcome for her clients. Her ability to find the all the pertinent evidence and bring it together in a manner that will be most effective when presented in court will ensure you have the best possible outcome in your cohabitation case. Call Heather Byrd today and find out what she can do for you.