Can a New Relationship Affect Spousal Support Payments?

After a divorce, it is very common for you and your former spouse to start seeing other people. While you may not be ready to marry again soon after your last partnership, you may want to move in with your new significant other and take the relationship to the next level. However, if your former spouse is sending you spousal support payments, cohabitation can impact the amount of funds that you receive.

What Is Cohabitation?

After your divorce, you may stay out of the dating game for a while or you may jump right into a new relationship. Different people handle romance after the end of a marriage in different ways. If you do find yourself in a serious relationship again, you may consider sharing a new home with your new partner.

What many people do not realize is that cohabitation, or living together with a new spouse after a divorce, may impact your alimony payments. Different states have different laws and provisions regarding cohabitation – some may reduce alimony, while others can cancel it altogether. It is important to know how cohabitation can impact your alimony before you take the next step in a serious relationship.

California’s Cohabitation Laws

The state of California will reduce your spousal support payments if you cohabitate with another person. According to the Family Code 4323, the courts will view your new cohabitation arrangement as proof of your reduced need of financial support. The courts may reduce your alimony payments by a certain amount or altogether.

In order for the state of California to reduce your alimony payments on the basis of cohabitation, your former spouse will have to provide a few key pieces of evidence to the court to prove the following criteria.

  • You and your new partner are in a dating relationship
  • You and your new partner are now living together

Your former spouse can prove these criteria in a number of ways. A shared bank account, co-signed title, or a rental agreement can all prove an instance of cohabitation. An engagement or having a child together could also support a case of reduced alimony.

What If You Move to a Different State?

You may believe that moving to another state may help you retain alimony payments while continuing to live with your new partner. However, this action may actually complicate the situation. You will have to adhere to the California state cohabitation laws, and you may have to adhere to the cohabitation laws of your new state.

Considerations Before Cohabitation

While your former spouse reserves the right to reduce your alimony payments after you begin living with someone else, you should not allow this fact to keep you from moving forward. If your new partner is also working and sharing living costs, a reduction may not cause too much of an impact.

Before you move in with your new partner, think about how this change in your living situation could impact your alimony payments. If you can live with the impact, enjoy your new home. If not, speak to your attorney about your specific circumstance. Your attorney may be able to help argue for a smaller reduction in your favor.

Contact a California Divorce Attorney As Soon as Possible

A San Jose divorce attorney can provide numerous benefits to your divorce proceedings. In addition, if your former spouse is trying to reduce your alimony payments, a lawyer can provide guidance. He or she will review the facts of your case and help you negotiate for the best possible outcome.

You should already have a divorce attorney on your side before you begin an alimony reduction proceeding. If you do not have an attorney, contact one as soon as possible. A divorce lawyer is very valuable for negotiation, navigating complicated legal processes, and providing support from the beginning of your case to the end.