Proving Cohabitation In Pennsylvania
For ex-spouses who have been ordered to pay alimony, ending these payments early would be a favorable outcome. Most people do not wish to continue making alimony payments longer than they have to. While this logic is understandable, many spouses have little or no control over when their alimony payments end. A notable exception may be when the receiving spouse remarries or starts cohabiting with another person.
If you need to explore whether your former spouse is currently cohabiting with another person, you should get in touch with a qualified, experienced family law attorney in Pennsylvania. These legal professionals can use a number of effective strategies to demonstrate to the court that cohabitation has occurred. Upon successfully proving cohabitation, your alimony payments may no longer be required.
What is Cohabitation?
Cohabitation occurs when someone starts living with a new partner in a relationship that takes on the characteristics of a marriage. The two individuals must be doing more than simply living under the same roof. This means that they must be in some form of a romantic relationship, which also may include commingling their assets or finances. Once a former spouse starts to become financially dependent or co-dependent on a new partner, there may be no justification for why they should continue to receive alimony payments.
In Pennsylvania, cohabitation is grounds for the termination of court-ordered alimony. It may or may not be grounds for terminating alimony under a settlement agreement, depending on the terms of the agreement. However, you must prove that cohabitation has taken place before the court will end your alimony payments. The first step is to file a petition for the termination of your alimony. Next, you’ll be given the opportunity to present evidence at a hearing to prove your claim. Your attorney can help you develop evidence, including witnesses, but you can also develop proof on your own. In this age of social media and online “relationship statuses,” it has become easier to determine whether two people are in a relationship. A screenshot of social media page is one piece of evidence. Friends and neighbors who witness the former spouse’s living arrangements may be willing to offer their own testimony.
A challenging aspect of cohabitation is showing the court that the relationship is not only romantic, but also financial in nature. Proof can be obtained through the discovery process. It is helpful when the couple vacations together and the new partner is paying for the trips. Or perhaps the new partner is paying the mortgage or rent.
Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today
For help from a skilled Pittsburgh divorce lawyer, contact Bunde & Roberts, P.C. We have helped many former spouses achieve the best possible outcomes after a divorce, and this includes matters related to alimony. Our offices are conveniently located in Pittsburgh, so reach out today and book your consultation.