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McCurrie McCurrie
& McCurrie, L.L.C.

680 Kearny Avenue
Kearny, NJ 07032-3010
Phone: (201) 467-4180
Fax: (201) 997-9567
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Does cohabiting automatically end alimony payments in New Jersey?

Much has been said lately about alimony in New Jersey, but mostly the discussion has centered on permanent alimony and whether it is fair. While the outcome of the debate remains to be seen, we can still address topics that are relevant to people who receive or pay spousal support each month throughout New Jersey.

One issue that many ex-spouses deal with is when a receiving spouse begins living with a boyfriend or girlfriend. Should a divorced spouse still owe alimony if the receiving ex-spouse is cohabiting? The answer depends on a few factors.

First, if a person receiving spousal support remarries, then alimony payments to the newlywed should stop.

However, cohabitation out of wedlock does not automatically disqualify an ex-spouse from receiving alimony payments. The party who pays support can, however, seek an alimony modification. This involves showing a court that the receiving party's cohabitation has resulted in a financial change in circumstances; that is, a financial change for the better.

Still, proving that cohabiting has led to a change in circumstances will likely require some legal assistance, and people seeking an alimony modification or termination should speak with their attorneys about achieving that end.

On the other side of the coin, if a paying ex-spouse has asked a court to lower an alimony amount or terminate the order, then a receiving ex-spouse may have to counter that request if cohabiting hasn't actually improved his or her financial situation. After all, living with a person doesn't necessarily mean you're any better off in terms of money.

These kinds of disputes can certainly become heated, but it's best for all parties involved to keep a cool head. If you would like to learn more about modifying an alimony order in New Jersey, then please visit our page on post-divorce modifications.

Source: Bucks County Courier Times, "Cohabitation and Modification and Termination, Oh My!" Lexie Rigden, Nov. 18, 2013

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