Cohabitation And Spousal Support: Do They Mix?

For those previously married, getting hitched again is probably not the first thing on their minds. Nowadays, it's not uncommon for people to just "live together" without the benefit of any legal agreement whatsoever, and this can be especially true for those who have left a bad marriage. Since two really can often live cheaper than one when it comes to rent and housing expenses, cohabitation has become extremely popular. One frequently problematic issue is the financial arrangements of that cohabitation in relation to spousal support. Read on to learn more.

Why is spousal support still ordered? Some may be surprised to find that alimony, now usually referred to as spousal support, is still being ordered through separation and divorce. While women now make up a large portion of the workforce, not all choose to go that route. Many couples decide that it makes more sense for one of them to be full-time parents and for one of them to be full-time wage earners. This can be the man as often as it can be the woman. When a divorce occurs, it can send the stay-at-home spouse into a financial head-spin. Often, this spouse has given up both career and education opportunities to be a caregiver, and now must deal the the bleak financial reality of that decision. Spousal support can help even the playing field until that spouse can get on their feet, financially speaking.

What is your current financial situation? If you are now cohabiting and are facing some flack from your ex about the spousal support, a close look at your finances may be in order. Just because you are living with someone does not automatically mean that your financial situation has been changed for the better; it really depends on how you and your partner have set up the division of bills. While it may be only natural for your former spouse to object to the continued need to pay spousal support, your cohabitation arrangement may have no bearing on that arrangement. If your ex takes you back to court to have the spousal support reduced or eliminated, you may need to show your math, so be prepared.

What the judge may consider: The judge will be questioning how much support you were awarded and the reason for that support. For example, if you were meant to return to school using rehabilitative spousal support, you should be prepared to show that you are complying with that order. Other issues likely to be brought forth are:

  1. How much income are the two of you making?

  2. Are you sharing bank accounts?

  3. What does your current budget look like, and who is paying what expenses?

  4. Do you and your partner have any joint debts, like a car? Are you both on the rental lease?

One of the best moves you can make is to speak to your divorce attorney, like Marlene Dancer Adams, before you change your living arrangements so that you can move on with your life without it affecting your financial status.