+973.584.6200
hdarlingesq@verizon.net

Alimony May Terminate If Cohabitant Provides Gifts and Luxuries Of Economic Benefit

Alimony May Terminate If Cohabitant Provides Gifts and Luxuries Of Economic Benefit

Recently in Reiss v. Weis, the Appellate Court affirmed a trial court’s terminating alimony when it was established the dependent spouse was cohabiting and had intertwined finances with her live-in lover. The ex-wife received economic benefit to her standard of living from the cohabitant providing for significant enhancements other than just actual financial assistance. She openly cohabited for ten years before her ex-husband filed a motion requesting the Court terminate his alimony obligation. The Appellate Court cited to the New Jersey Supreme Court’s holdings in Crews that Spousal support allows the dependent spouse to be kept at a standard of living similar to the standard during the marriage which cannot be maintained without support and to Gayet where the Supreme Court held that Cohabitation is a changed circumstance which requires review of the economic consequences of the relationship and its impact on the alimony obligation to determine if support should be reduced or terminated. In Konzelman, the Supreme Court held that the cohabitants must be in a relationship akin to marriage so that not only do they resided together but they have the obligations and the perks that a married couple have. In this matter the Appellate Court held that evaluating if a dependent spouse receives a benefit from cohabitation is a fact-sensitive process and must be determined case by case. The dependent spouse argued that she utilized her alimony and child support to contribute to her own share of the household and monthly living expenses. However, the record showed she could not explain why her and the live-in lover contributed equally to the expenses when they had different sized families. The live-in lover also provided car and health insurance coverage as well as vehicles for her and her children. The Appellate Court found that the trial court cited to sufficient evidence to show that the cohabitant overpaid his share of the household and living expenses as well as provided lifestyle enhancements which included luxurious vacations, expensive activities such as boating, and lavish gifts which establishes the dependent spouse received a tangible economic benefit from the cohabitation to justify terminating alimony. If you are interested in modifying or terminating an alimony obligation to a former spouse or partner or someone has filed to modify your alimony or support, you should consult with an experienced family law attorney to protect your rights. For more information on alimony, cohabitation,child support, child custody, parenting time, equitable distribution or other family law matters in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com. This blog is for informational purposes only and in no way intended to replace the advice of an attorney regarding your specific matter. Contributed by Tracy Luciano

Leave a Comment