In an Ohio divorce, a judge may order the more financially stable spouse to make alimony payments to the other spouse until either spouse passes away (if the marriage lasts at least 20 years) or the divorce decree states otherwise. However, it is not uncommon for either spouse to start dating—or even move in with a new flame.
When an ex-spouse starts living together with a romantic partner and both parties contribute to each other’s finances, this is known as “cohabitation.” In addition, the relationship must last a significant duration, rather than a matter of days or weeks.
So, what happens if a supported spouse starts cohabitating with a new partner? If the court finds that a cohabitant is financially supporting the supported spouse, or the supported spouse is using his/her alimony award to support a new partner, the judge will either terminate or substantially reduce alimony.
Keep in mind, your Ohio divorce decree must state that Ohio has jurisdiction after you finalized your divorce and the alimony award can be modified. With that being said, if your decree doesn’t address either of these terms, you cannot modify alimony payments.
To prove cohabitation in court, you must collect evidence such as joint rental or lease agreements, shared utility bills, and other shared household expenses. Since obtaining copies of this information can be quite difficult, it is imperative to hire an experienced family law attorney to help you gather the evidence necessary to modify or terminate alimony.
Lastly, the court can order the supported spouse to repay the paying spouse if any alimony payments were made from when he/she started living with a new partner.
For more information about alimony modifications in Dayton, contact L. Patrick Mulligan & Associates, LLC today at (937) 685-7006 and schedule a free case review.