Spousal support is often the largest financial obligation you will incur as part of your divorce.
Cohabitation refers to a couple living together in a romantic relationship without the benefits of marriage. In the aftermath of a divorce, if you move in with your boyfriend or girlfriend, it can give your ex the opportunity to stop paying spousal support.
Couples are encouraged to sign a cohabitation agreement detailing their obligations and rights to each other, and defining their liability and property rights. Since oral agreements may be difficult to prove, it is advised that couples consult an experienced Family Law attorney before entering into any agreement.
How about the person paying spousal support to his or her former spouse and now that spouse is living with another person?
According to the California Family Code 4337:
- Except as otherwise agreed by the parties in writing, the obligation of a party under an order for the support of the other party terminates upon the death of either party or the remarriage of the other party.
4338. In the enforcement of an order for spousal support, the court shall resort to the property described below in the order indicated:
- The earnings, income, or accumulations of either spouse, while living separate and apart from the other spouse, which would have been community property if the spouse had not been living separate and apart from the other spouse.
- The community property.
- The quasi-community property.
- The other separate property of the party required to make the support payments.
If you are the person trying to cut off the spousal support award, you bear the burden of proof to the court that your former spouse is living with another person, and not just spending the night. You may wish to apply for a modification of the amount. You can plead to the court to terminate the support or at least lower it.
The laws surrounding divorce and spousal support can be complicated. For more detailed, specific information, please contact an experienced family law attorney in the law offices of Holstrom, Block & Parke to discuss your options.
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