Southern California Family Law

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Southern California Family Law

How Cohabitation Could Impact Spousal Support

Divorce - February 11, 2021

How Cohabitation Could Impact Spousal Support

A significant issue in California divorces is often the payment of spousal support paid or received during and after the divorce. The purpose of spousal support is to help the lesser-earning spouse maintain his or her standard of living after the marriage is over. How is alimony affected when the spouse receiving support begins cohabitating with another person? At  Simpson Law Group, our experienced California family law attorneys are here to provide quality legal advice regarding this topic and all other matters pertaining to your divorce. To learn more, call or contact our office today.

What is Cohabitation?

Cohabitation is generally defined as a couple living together in an intimate relationship and sharing in day to day life. The couple does not have to be married, but the relationship must be more than a simple roommate arrangement. Cohabitating couples typically hold themselves out as a couple and may rely on one another financially.  Some of the most common facts which might establish cohabitation include the following:

  • Sharing the same mailing address
  • Living together on a regular and continuing basis (more than just spending the occasional overnight)
  • Joint mortgage or lease documents
  • Financially supporting or helping each other pay for regular living expenses
  • Holding themselves out to others as a couple
  • Proof of engagement and/or wedding planning
  • Jointly purchasing or investing in property or other assets

An experienced family law attorney has the knowledge and the resources to determine whether a former spouse is cohabitating with another person and if that could impact existing spousal support payments.

How Does Cohabitation Affect Spousal Support?

If a spouse receiving spousal support payments begins cohabitating with another person, there is a rebuttable presumption under California law that there is a decreased need for spousal support which could warrant a spousal support reduction and, in some cases, the termination of spousal support.  Once the spouse paying support proves to the court that the recipient spouse is cohabitating, the cohabitating spouse has the opportunity to disprove the cohabitation and/or prove a continuing need for alimony payments despite the existence of cohabitation.  These issues are fact-intensive and vary from case to case.  

Talk to Our Office Today

Understanding what it means to cohabitate with another person and how it may impact alimony payments is important both for a former spouse paying support as well as the spouse receiving support. If you would like to speak with a knowledgeable California divorce attorney about whether your situation qualifies as cohabitation, call the office or contact us at Simpson Law Group today to schedule a consultation of your case. 

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