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Cohabitation And Alimony In California

What Happens To Spousal Support If One Party Cohabitates With Someone After A Spousal Support Order Is Made

How to Prove Cohabitation in Common Law Sponsorship

The California Family Code 4323 states that there is a rebuttable presumption affecting spousal support when the recipient of support begins cohabitating with another person where it is not a bona fide roommate situation. In simple terms, if the recipient of spousal support begins cohabitating with a boyfriend or girlfriend, or fiancé, there is a presumption that the support recipients needs for support are reduced. The support obligor can file a motion to reduce, limit or terminate spousal support in such a case.

Kari Yeomans Ohio Divorce Attorney

In Ohio, men have to prove cohabitation of their former spouse, but the cohabitation also has to be of a marital nature. This means men have to prove that former spouse has more than a roommate.

Some of the best and easiest ways to prove this is through social media. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are great places to start. It is surprising what you can find without too much trouble.

The next step is to ask for lease agreements, deeds and bank statements.

Impact Of Cohabitation On Alimony

Under California law, there is a rebuttable presumption that alimony can be reduced, and possibly terminated when the supported spouse is cohabiting with someone else. The rebuttable presumption means that the court will presume that a reduction or termination of alimony is appropriate unless the supported spouse can prove a continuing need for alimony payments despite living with someone else.

As with remarriage, you and your spouse can agree in your divorce settlement agreement to continue spousal support if the supported spouse remarries. If you don’t have a written agreement, and the supported spouse will not agree to lower or end alimony, you can file a motion asking the court to modify support. The court won’t directly consider the income of the person with whom the supported spouse is living when deciding whether to lower or end alimony, only the supported spouse’s new financial circumstances.

Cohabitation is more than a roommate relationshipit usually requires a personal, romantic relationship. However, if the supported spouse is living in a roommate situation, the court may still find the need for support has decreased and may modify alimony.

If you have additional questions about spousal support and remarriage, consult with a California family law attorney.

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If My Ex Is Living With A Significant Other Can I Stoppaying Spousal Support

Are you paying spousal support to someonewho has moved in with his or her significant other? If this doesnt seem rightto you, keep reading because you may want to take action immediately.

Lets assume the following scenario: You were married for 20 years. In the divorce you were ordered to pay spousal support to your ex until further Order of the Court, remarriage, or the death of either party, whichever occurs first. You have just learned that your ex has been living with a significant other for the past year. What do you do now?

Your objective will be to reduceyour spousal support, to zero, if possible. The easiest way to obtain areduction is if your ex will stipulate, or agree, to change the order. Ifthat scenario presents itself, counsel should assist you in drafting a writtenstipulation to be signed by both parties. Once the Stipulation is filed, youhave a new support order.

If a stipulation is not in the cards,you will have to file a Request for Order to modify or terminate spousalsupport. Filing the Request for Order will result in a hearing date, usually60-90 days in the future. At the hearing the Court will decide whether tochange your order. You will need to prove that a material change ofcircumstances has occurred since the order was entered. In other words, youhave to show that something important has changed in the parties finances towarrant a reduction in support.

Does Child Support Have An Impact On Alimony

Sample Cohabitation Agreement Alberta : Cohabitation Agreement Form ...

Yes. One of the factors a judge must consider is The earning capacity of the supported spouse and ability to be employed without interfering with the best interest of dependent children in his or her custody.

In addition, child support payments are mandatory in California, but spousal support is not. This is one of the areas where courts have broad discretion when looking at the overall finances of the paying spouse.

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If My Ex Moves Out Before My Spousalsupport Hearing Does The Presumption Of Reduced Need Apply

Prepare for the possibility that your ex will change his or her living situation upon service of your motion to reduce support. For this reason, it is important for you to have enough evidence of cohabitation before you file your motion. While no reported case in this state deals with a situation where the supported spouses cohabitation ends before the spousal support trial, the Court can use its discretion within the 4320 factors to price in the past cohabitation in the current order. The family court is a court of equity. Such a transparent maneuver will likely be considered in the Courts ruling. The Court may also weigh the move-out in your exs attorneys fees request.

The Court is vested with broaddiscretion in determining spousal support. The outcome of your case will hingeupon the credibility of your testimony and the weight of your evidence.

Burden Of Proof In Spousal Support And Cohabitation Cases

The burden of proof lies with the supported party. This means that in order for alimony not to be decreased or terminated after a request to modify, the supported party must prove that their financial situation has not changed as a result of moving in which their nonmarital partner.

However, California courts typically do not like to modify a spousal support order once it has been set. There must really be a significant change in the supported partys financial circumstances in order for alimony to be decreased or terminated.

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What Does Cohabitation Really Mean

Cohabitation is more than being roommates.

The code section uses the words nonmarital partner because it requires an interpersonal relationship like that of a romantic relationship.

Think boyfriends, girlfriends, etc. as examples…

If two people simply live together as roommates, but that nonmarital partnership does not exist, this code section may not apply.

I write the word “may not” because the California Family Code section does not specifically define what nonmarital partner means. In practical application, we believe it goes beyond a platonic, roommate relationship.

But be warned, a roommate relationship may also be a proper basis for a modification of alimony.

Any significant circumstance that reduces an ex-spouse’s needs maytrigger a modification request.

How Is Cohabitation Proved

Marriage Contracts, Cohabitation Agreements & Prenuptial Agreements

While you may suspect someone of cohabiting, you need proof. While the court has the final say if you pay alimony or not, proving cohabitation is essential. Hiring a private investigator that specializes in locating people and amassing evidence is crucial. Hiring a child support private investigator or hiring a private investigator in California that knows the lay of the land can help you where it counts. If youre looking for a private investigator in Los Angeles, you can find a wide variety of individuals, but finding the right one that proves cohabitation is a deft art. And they can prove cohabitation by using some or all of the following methods:

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What Affect Does Cohabitation Have On Alimony In California

Cohabitation and alimony often collide after a California divorce judgment.

The most common situation goes like this.

  • A person paysalimony to his/her former spouse.
  • The divorce judgment states the alimonyamount and duration of the alimony payment.
  • If it was a short-term marriage,the alimony may have a termination date.
  • If it is a long-term marriage, thealimony duration may be open-ended.
  • After the divorce judgment, the ex-spouse who receives alimony cohabitates with a non-marital partner with whom he/she has arelationship, which includes a same-sex relationship.

    This cohabitation causes the payor of alimony to request a modification or termination of the alimony order.

  • What does cohabitation mean?
  • Do the specificcircumstances matter?
  • Does cohabitation really reduce or end alimony inCalifornia?
  • What arguments does each former spouse have for and againstmodification of alimony because of cohabitation?
  • We will explore these questions in more detail.

    First, here is a quick and informative video on the subject.

    We hope you enjoy this video on how cohabitation affects alimony in California. For those who need an accessible transcript of the video, Here is a link to the video’s transcript.

    How Are Spousal Support Payments Calculated What Factors Are Used

    The first test for calculating spousal support in California is to prove that the requesting spouse needs the support and that the other can provide it.

    After this is decided, the court will gather financial information from each spouse for temporary spousal support cases and determine an amount using a guideline formula.

    Before this is finalized, a judge must also consider the amount and duration based on several statutory factors. Attorneys often help spouses in court cases by developing evidence based on these factors:

    After considering these factors, its essential to note that a judge has great discretion in determining how much spousal support to order.

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    Modifying Or Terminating California Spousal Support

    Either spouse can ask the court to modify or terminate a support order. Its incumbent on the requesting party to demonstrate a significant change of circumstances since the original order.

    A long-term support order can be modified if:

    • The order was unfair or based on false or incomplete information and was later used as one of the factors to determine the support length and duration. When it can be proven that the court failed to properly consider one or more of these factors, either party may file a motion to amend the order.
    • Changed circumstances such as if either spouse suffers an illness or disability that affects their ability to work, or if other financial changes affect the paying or recipient spouse,

    Voluntary actions that create a change in circumstances will result in the denial of a modification request. For example, a modification will be denied if a party voluntarily quits a job, moves into a more expensive dwelling, or if any other voluntary action changes financial condition.

    Under California Family Code Section 4337, spousal support automatically terminates when the supported spouse remarries or enters into a domestic partnership or either spouse dies. No new or updated court order is required in these situations.

    Alimony Questions Based On The Years Of Marriage

    FREE 7+ Sample Cohabitation Agreement Templates in Google Docs

    What we write in this section assumes that alimony is justified in these cases. Just because two people are married and then separate does not automatically mean there will be alimony. The disparity in income, ability to pay, and need consistent with the marital standard of living and the Family Code 4320 factors is still important.

    In what we write below, we assume that the person requesting alimony met all of those factors and has a right to receive it. We then provide you with information in marriages of the following duration.

    Suppose a marriage is between 2 years to 5 years.

    In that case, the court will likely order alimony for half the duration of the marriage. Understand that the halfway duration of the marriage is the outside date. It does not mean the spouse receiving alimony will automatically get it for that time.

    It is essential for the person paying alimony to negotiate a termination date of alimony and terminate the court’s ability to award alimony at that halfway or earlier mark.

    You do not want an open-ended alimony order that requires you to come back and terminate alimony in the future.

    Everything we wrote above applies to marriages under 10 years, except for those marriages that are very close to the 10-year mark. Those close to the 10-year mark have the potential of being treated as a long-term marriage depending on certain factors the court may consider.

    10 years or longer make a marriage that of long duration.

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    Samuel Patry Ohio Divorce Attorney

    Two fairly inexpensive and easy ways of proving a spouse is cohabitating are filing a public records request and using the power of the subpoena.

    Public Records Request I typically make records request for the address in question from all law enforcement agencies in that jurisdiction.

    It provides me not only with the names of persons who have listed that address as their residence, but also provides me with details for any police involvement at the address or involving persons who live at that address.

    Subpoena I also issue a subpoena to the utility companies servicing the address, the landlord and any banks with a mortgage on the property requesting not only the leasing statements, closing statements and loan applications, but also any checks or documents which show the person making payments to them for the address.

    This usually will show any person who is contributing to paying bills and also the person who is / are listed as residing there.

    How Do I Prove My Ex Iscohabiting

    At your hearing, the Court will apply the rules of Evidence. The Court will not consider your evidence unless it is admissible. Not all evidence is admissible in a court of law. Social media, witness testimony and documentary evidence may prove cohabitation. However, the rules of evidence may limit the admissibility of such information. This is why you need experienced Orange County spousal support attorneys to make sure your cohabitation evidence is admissible.

    It is also possible that your exwill admit to cohabitation, but argue that support is still necessary. More onthat below.

    If you are not sure your ex iscohabiting, you should consult with a skilled family law attorney to develop astrategy for proving cohabitation early in your case.

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    Court’s Power To Modify May Continue Into The Future

    The parties can agree to something different from what California Family Code 4323 states about the cohabitation’s effect on alimony.

    Absent that agreement, the ex-spouse who lives with a non-marital partner has a presumptive reduced need for alimony.

    Rebuttable means the cohabiting spouse can offer evidence to show why he or she does not have a reduced need and should continue to receive the same alimony amount.

    If the court determines there is cohabitation with a non-marital partner, the court has the power to modify or terminate the alimony.

    Cohabitation does not require one non-marital partner to hold the other non-marital partner out as his or her spouse.

    The income of the ex-spouse’s subsequent spouse is not a factor when determining or modifying alimony.

    Just because a court modifies alimony because of cohabitation does not mean the California court cannot modify it again at a future date. This presumes the court did not forever terminate alimony.

    Free Consultation With A California Spousal Support Attorney


    If you are asking how cohabitation will affect your spousal support rights in California and need legal help, contact us. Well get you in touch with an attorney that can answer any questions you may have and help protect your rights. Get your free consolation with one of our spousal support attorneys in California today!

    Do You Have a Case?

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    Questions On California Alimony Laws

    Alimony is payment by one spouse to the other spouse. It is similar to child support in the manner of payment. Most alimony payments are monthly. The typical alimony order splits the monthly alimony payment into half on the 1st half on the 15th of the month.

    Alimony does not have to be paid monthly. Spouses are free to negotiate alimony payments in different matters.

    Court orders sometimes require alimony payments by paying the other spouse’s expenses. That is not a typical arrangement.

    Spouses should be careful when they get too creative with alimony payments. They may be calling something alimony that federal tax laws or state tax laws may not consider alimony. That can have adverse tax consequences.

    Spouses should obtain tax advice from experienced tax professionals such as a CPA or tax lawyer.

    There is no difference between alimony in spousal support. Those terms are synonymous in California.

    How alimony works is a common question. Those who ask this question want to know how alimony is determined in California.

    Think of alimony in two parts. The first is temporary alimony while the divorce case is pending. The second is alimony at the judgment phase, which is alimony in the divorce judgment.

    Temporary alimony is determined differently than the alimony in a divorce judgment.

    Suppose the spouses choose for the judge to make the decision. In that case, the judge must go through the Family Code 4320 factors to determine the alimony amount.

    Can Unmarried Couples Divorce In California

    Spending a significant portion of your life with someone, and maybe even starting a family with them, can certainly make you feel like you are married. For the same reason, deciding to end your relationship with that person can also feel like you are getting divorced from them. As mentioned, though, California does not have a family law that recognizes common law marriage, so it also has no common law divorce.

    However, when you are breaking up with your significant other, you could encounter legal issues that are similar to those that can come up in a divorce. It depends on the details of your relationship and how official you are looking to make your separation.

    When leaving a significant other of many years, you might have questions involving your:

    Read Also: How Much Is Alimony In Virginia

    The Impact Of Remarriage On Spousal Support

    Based on the California Family Code §4337, the legal obligation to pay alimony will usually end when the receiving spouse is remarried. Based on current law, the paying spouse does not need to file a motion to cease payments and court actions will not be required.

    The receiving spouse has a legal obligation to notify the paying party of his or her marriage in order to cease payments. If the receiving party fails to do so, he or she may face repayment for the excess payments following the wedding. In this scenario, the paying party will need to go to court to file a motion in order to terminate the support. At this point, the paying party can ask for a refund of the excess payments. The family law judge will make a decision based on the circumstance of each individual case.

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