If you have gone through a divorce and are paying alimony, you likely know that your support obligation can be modified or even terminated upon a showing of “changed circumstances.” While changed circumstances could apply to a number of situations, one common example that has long been a basis to modify or terminate alimony is an ex-spouse’s cohabitation with another individual. According to New Jersey Statute 2A:34-23(n), which was enacted in 2014, “[c]ohabitation involves a mutually supportive, intimate personal relationship in which a couple has undertaken duties and privileges that are commonly associated with marriage…but does not necessarily maintain a single common household.” The statute goes on to list the seven factors courts should look to when determining if cohabitation is indeed taking place:
- Intertwined finances such as joint bank accounts and other joint holdings or liabilities;
- Sharing or joint responsibility for living expenses;
- Recognition of the relationship in the couple’s social and family circle;
- Living together, the frequency of contact, the duration of the relationship, and other indicia of a mutually supportive intimate personal relationship;
- Sharing household chores;
- Whether the recipient of alimony has received an enforceable promise of support from another person; and
- All other relevant evidence.