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Cohabitation and Terminating Alimony in New Jersey

When an alimony obligation exists between ex-spouses in New Jersey, both the paying and receiving ex-spouses can wonder how a dating relationship of the receiving ex-spouse with a significant other can impact the paying ex-spouse's obligation to pay alimony. Typically, the dating relationship of the receiving ex-Tennessee-Alimony-Law2.jpgspouse is only going to alter the obligation of the paying ex-spouse if a situation called "cohabitation" exists. Broadly, cohabitation is defined as "a mutually supportive, intimate personal relationship in which a couple has undertaken duties and privileges that are commonly associated with marriage."

It is a common misconception that a cohabitation analysis begins and ends with the question, "Is the receiving ex-spouse living with his/her partner?" In New Jersey, the alimony statute lays out several factors the Court must consider in determining whether the ex-spouse receiving alimony is cohabitating. N.J.S.A. ยง 2A:34-23 states the following factors must be considered, with respect to the receiving ex-spouse and his/her partner: (1)Intertwined finances such as joint bank accounts and other joint holdings or liabilities; (2)Sharing or joint responsibility for living expenses; (3)Recognition of the relationship in the couple's social and family circle; (4)Living together, the frequency of contact, the duration of the relationship, and other indicia of a mutually supportive intimate personal relationship; (5)Sharing household chores; (6)Whether the recipient of alimony has received an enforceable promise of support from another person within the meaning of subsection h. of R.S.25:1-5; and (7)All other relevant evidence.

It is only after considering all of these factors that the Court can make a determination regarding cohabitation. A receiving ex-spouse and his/her partner may be considered cohabitating even if they are living apart. Each determination is a factually and legally intensive analysis that requires thorough fact-finding and specific legal knowledge.

If you believe you are paying alimony to an ex-spouse who is cohabitating, or if you are receiving alimony and want to know if your new relationship would be considered a cohabitating relationship, it is highly recommended that you consult with an attorney. If you have an issue involving cohabitation, please contact one of our experienced New Jersey Divorce and Family Law attorneys today to set up a consultation.

THE FOREGOING IS INTENDED TO BE A GENERAL DISCUSSION OF THE LAW AND IS NOT INTENDED TO BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL ADVICE. IF YOU HAVE A SPECIFIC QUESTION, PLEASE CONTACT OUR OFFICE TO SPEAK WITH AN ATTORNEY.

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