Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law
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Cohabitation can lead to termination of alimony

Years ago, divorce settlements often included alimony or spousal support, but when the Alimony Reform Act of 2011 was enacted everything changed. Now, the choice to award alimony to one spouse depends on the negotiation between divorcing individuals. The amount and duration of support is based on the length of marriage.

Once the divorce has been finalized, the supporting party will start paying the alimony in order for the spouse to maintain his or her accustomed lifestyle or use the support in getting training to eventually rejoin the workforce.

Readers need to understand that alimony can be modified or terminated if the receiving party is cohabitating. Proving cohabitation can be a daunting task and a person who is planning to file the termination of alimony should first gather substantial evidence and consider some thoughts to prove his or her claim.

First, a person should determine if his or her ex-spouse is now sharing finances, including sharing utility and grocery bills, with his or her partner. The second thing to consider is if the couple is now living in the same house. Third, determining if the couple is now identifying themselves as a couple in public can prove cohabitation.

The above mentioned tips are some simple ways to determine if one person is cohabitating. If a person decides to gather additional evidence to support his or her claim, he or she can hire a private investigator. An individual can also monitor social media activity and observe the changes in the other party's finances.

Jurisdiction over alimony laws vary from state to state. Here in Massachusetts, it is best for individuals facing similar issues to get all of the right information. By doing so, people will have better understanding of their cases and will be better equipped to decide how to proceed.

Source: Huffingtonpost.com, "He said/she said: how to demonstrate cohabitation in an alimony dispute," Diane L. Danois, Feb. 21, 2014

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