After a divorce, individuals may get into new relationships. This can affect many aspects of their life, including, who they spend time the majority of their time with and even their financial situation. In some instances, when a new relationship results in the partners living together, the ex-spouse may request a reduction or termination in their alimony payments. In a recent New Jersey case, an appellate court was tasked with determining whether a woman was cohabitating with her new partner, which would result in a termination of alimony payments from her ex-husband. Ultimately, the court determined that the ex-husband did not present enough evidence to prove his former wife and her new fiancée were cohabitating—thus, there was no termination of alimony payments.
In this case, the former couple was married for over twenty-four years before getting a divorce. During their final divorce proceedings, they signed a marital settlement agreement, which provided that if the wife cohabitated with a future romantic partner, the husband could request an alimony review that could result in a termination of alimony. Seven years after the signing of the agreement, the ex-husband moved to terminate his alimony obligation because he claimed his ex-wife was living with her new fiancée.
The defendant argued that the cohabitation provision in the marital settlement agreement was triggered because the ex-wife and her fiancée had been in a continuous relationship for over six years, and the fiancée played a critical role in his and the ex-wife’s youngest child’s life—including attending dance recitals, paying for family dinners and driving her to the airport. However, the lower court ruled that the ex-husband did not meet the standard for cohabitation under New Jersey law.
The appellate court then reviewed the family judge’s decision and looked at the factors for cohabitation necessary to trigger a termination in alimony payments. These factors include (1) intertwined finances; (2) recognition of the relationship in social circles; (3) living together; and (4) sharing household chores. Because the fiancée maintains that he and the ex-wife share separate households and the ex-husband provided no evidence to the contrary, among the other factors, the appellate court found the family judge’s determination was correct and did not overrule the prior decision.
Arguing for a reduction or modification of alimony payments can be extremely difficult. Therefore, individuals who believe they should be afforded a termination of alimony payments should contact an experienced divorce attorney right away.
Contact a New Jersey Divorce Attorney
If you or a loved one is going through a divorce—or is fighting for the termination of alimony payments—contact the Law Office of Jeffrey R. Brown. We understand that divorces can be emotional and extremely stressful, and we are here to help. Attorney Brown has years of experience handling divorce cases. Because of this, he is able to assist with any complex legal issue you may be facing—or could potentially face during divorce proceedings. To schedule a free initial consultation, give us a call today at 732-613-0066 today.