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How Cohabitation Affects Alimony in California

In California, cohabitation can make the topic of alimony quite complex. If you’re pursuing a divorce and wondering how cohabitation will impact your alimony, read on.

What is “Cohabitation” Legally?

Cohabitation means more than just living together. Largely, cohabitation indicates a deeper relationship than simply sharing a home with someone — a deeper relationship than simply being “roommate and roommate.” Essentially, cohabitation implies that you are still living as spouse-and-spouse even though you are getting a divorce or are already divorced. (And, arguably, even a roommate relationship can be a gray area.)

It’s important to define cohabitation in this way because alimony is intended to upkeep a person’s quality of life. The implication under “cohabitation” is that your partner’s quality of life has not changed because you are still cohabitating — you’re still financially and practically enmeshed with their lives to the extent that they may not need the same amount of support.

What Does “Cohabitation” Mean for Alimony?

If your ex-spouse is cohabitating with you, and you’re paying them alimony, you may be able to request a modification of your alimony agreement. This is done on the basis that you’re already effectively helping your ex-spouse financially because they are living with you. But that doesn’t mean the modification will be automatically granted. Your ex-spouse can provide a rebuttal if your ex-spouse believes that their quality of life has still significantly hanged.

There are a lot of factors that go into alimony, such as the length of the marriage. But if two people are cohabitating, alimony is going to be even more complex. The courts will need to determine how much each person has truly been impacted by the divorce in this situation, and calculate the amount of the alimony.

Can Cohabitation Lead to Alimony Getting Taken Away?

It’s possible that alimony can be taken away or reduced due to cohabitation. Whether you’re the one receiving alimony or you’re the one sending it, documentation is important.

If you’re looking for alimony modification, you will need documents to show the expenses that you’re currently paying for your ex-partner. If you’re trying to avoid an alimony modification, you will need documents to show that your ex-partner is not contributing to your lifestyle any longer.

Either way, having a lawyer can help. A lawyer will be able to go over your personal financial situation and advise you on what the courts are likely to recommend.

Cohabitating with a former spouse is difficult, both on a practical level and a legal one. Legally, it’s usually best to stop cohabitating with a partner that you’re leaving — but that’s not always feasible for everyone. Be prepared for alimony to be impacted by cohabitation, regardless of which side of the alimony you’re on.

Need more information about cohabitation and alimony? We’re here to help. Contact Erica Bloom Law today to find out more about our services and what we can do for you.