The Effect of Cohabitation on Alimony in NJ

Cohabitation with a New Partner may Affect Alimony Payments

Upset couple sleeping separately on their bed

Under statute N.J.S. 2A:34-23, New Jersey Family Part judges are authorized to use broad discretion in deciding whether to modify any type of support order, including permanent alimony, “as circumstances may require.”  Cohabitation with another may qualify as a type of changed circumstance which warrants a modification or termination of one’s alimony payments.  As set forth in the recent appeals court decision in Gould v. Gould, Docket No. A-4757-10T3, cohabitation is defined as “an intimate relationship in which the couple has undertaken duties and privileges that are commonly associated with marriage.”  Some of these duties and privileges include living together, intertwined finances and shared living expenses.  The party arguing for reduced alimony has the burden of showing that the supported spouse’s circumstances include economic changes as a result of the cohabitation.

In NJ, a Romantic Relationship is Not Enough to Terminate Alimony

As found in Gould v. Gould, evidence that the defendant and her romantic partner of approximately four years spent significant time together was not enough to establish that they shared a marital-type relationship warranting a finding of cohabitation.  Frequently spending the night with one another, going on vacations together and even receiving occasional mail at the same residence is not enough to establish a relatively permanent household as required to be considered cohabitation.

Call an Experienced Family Law Attorney Today to Review Your Alimony Payments

Should you have any questions about a potential alimony or other matrimonial matter you’re experiencing, please contact the experienced family law attorneys at Villani & DeLuca, P.C.  Call 732-965-3350 today to schedule your free initial consultation.