Cohabitation: Changed Circumstances May Mean Modifying Your Alimony Agreement

Sea Girt Attorneys Review Cohabitation And Changed Circumstances in Alimony Modifications

Alimony Modification Attorneys helping Clients navigate Post-Divorce Claims in Sea Girt, Spring Lake, Wall, Ocean and across Monmouth County Area

alimony cohabitation modification divorce spousal support Bronzino Law LLC

Alimony, child supportchild custody, and division of assets decisions are based on the financial and living circumstances of both parties at the time of their divorce or civil union dissolution. Significant changes to either party’s financial circumstances (i.e., remarriage) after the divorce, may warrant the modification, suspension or termination of the settlement. Cohabitation is a changed circumstance when combined with beneficial economic changes that result from this cohabitation. Absent a specific provision in the property settlement agreement (PSA), cohabitation may be grounds to justify relief. 

At The Bronzino Law Firm, LLC our alimony agreement modification lawyers have extensive experience drafting, enforcing, modifying, and terminating alimony agreements. Our smaller firm size allows us to offer highly personalized legal service while charging fair and reasonable rates. Find out why we have earned clients for life in Ocean and Monmouth County towns including Brick, Sea Girt, Neptune, Toms River, Point Pleasant, Wall, and across all of Eastern New Jersey.

Call our office today for a free and confidential consultation regarding your existing or prospective alimony agreement and how we can best serve your family law legal needs.

What Constitutes “Cohabitation” in Sea Girt, NJ?

Unlike remarrying where termination of alimony is often certain, an alimony award may or may not be terminated upon cohabitation. According to NJ Rev Stat § 2A:34-23 cohabitation includes, but is not limited to:

  • living together
  • a mutually supportive and intimate personal relationship 
  • duties and privileges commonly associated with marriage
  • intertwined finances such as joint bank accounts 
  • sharing living expenses and household chores 
  • recognition of the relationship in the couple’s social and family circles
  • whether the recipient of alimony has received an enforceable promise of support from another person within the meaning of subsection N.J.S.A. 25:1-5(h) and
  • other evidence deemed relevant by the court

Modifying, Suspending or Terminating Alimony in Neptune, NJ

The landmark NJ Supreme Court case Lepis v. Lepis set the standard for alimony judgment modification, by ruling that an existing alimony agreement can be modified if it can be demonstrated that circumstances have changed for either the payor, or the payee. If you as the payor are requesting an alimony modification, you must show the court that your change of circumstances has “substantially impaired your ability to support yourself.” Although there are no specific legal terms which constitute a changed circumstance, reasons such as a substantial involuntary decrease of income, unemployment, retirement, and major illness, injury or disability are often cited.

If the ex-spouse or payor are seeking to modify their alimony obligations due to the dependent party’s remarriage or cohabitation, the payor bears the burden of proving their request of “changed circumstances,” are permanent, substantial, and unanticipated.

Economics of Cohabitation Can Terminate Alimony in Brick, NJ

Cohabitation cases are fact sensitive and through the discovery phase of the modification petition our experienced attorneys will seek to obtain the necessary evidence to definitively prove that a cohabitative relationship exists. With their team of private investigators and forensic accountants they can help establish patterns of shared financial responsibility and cohabitation activity by monitoring social media sites and interpreting financial statements to find changes in spending habits.

The Court will then analyze the economic relationship of the parties living together (i.e., bank records, living expenses, and legal interviews in the form of depositions). If the Court decides that the dependent spouse is being subsidized by the other party and financially benefiting from the act of cohabiting (e.g., Reese v. Weis, 430 N.J. Super.552 and lifestyle enhancements which raise the dependents ex-spouse’s standard of living) alimony may be modified or terminated.

If you are receiving alimony payments and are in a romantic relationship with another adult, you should consult an attorney who can help you gain a better understanding of whether this relationship will affect your current alimony.

Divorce Decree Clause clearly defines Cohabitation in Alimony Modification Claims Ocean NJ

Adding a cohabitation clause to your divorce decree, could avoid future financial problems or misunderstandings. This clause would clearly define what you both would consider “cohabitation” and explicitly outline what circumstances would result in the termination of alimony payments.

CONTACT A TOMS RIVER SPOUSAL SUPPORT MODIFICATION ATTORNEY

Having already served many clients across Point Pleasant, Spring Lake, Toms River, and the greater Ocean and Monmouth County area, the Bronzino Law Firm, LLC has the experience and track record you need when pursuing or defending against a modification of your alimony agreement.

We believe that straightforward and regular communication with our clients is key, allowing us to provide an honest assessment of their case, and then working together in order to deliver optimal results. Our smaller size allows us to develop personal and attentive relationships with our clients, while charging reasonable and fair rates for our services.

To speak with Peter J. Bronzino today in a free and confidential consultation regarding the modification of your alimony agreement, please contact us online or through our Brick, NJ office at (732) 812-3102.