Divorce can be a costly financial transaction. Although property division can cause a major hit to your financial stability moving forward, so, too, can other, more long-term, financial implications of marriage dissolution. Spousal support may be the most impactful amongst them.
If you’ve been ordered to pay spousal support, then you know that the ongoing payments can feel burdensome, especially when modifications are sought to increase the amount that you have to pay. This can leave you in a precarious financial position where it’s difficult to plan for your future and live the life that you want to live.
The only way to escape an existing spousal support order is to wait, as the law will generally only terminate periodic spousal support upon the receiving spouse’s death, remarriage, or cohabitation. The first two of these qualifying acts are obvious when they occur. The last one, though (cohabitation) can be a little trickier to discover. And, truth be told, far too many individuals try to play the system as they cohabitate with a new love interest while still milking their spousal support.
How do you prove cohabitation?
Fortunately, there may be some steps that you can take to try to prove that your former spouse is cohabitating with another individual and therefore should be denied ongoing spousal support payments. Here are some of them:
- Observations: One powerful way to prove cohabitation is to have first-hand accounts of your former spouse residing in the other individual’s residence. Observations of the spouse arriving and leaving the residence is helpful, but so, too, is testimony that your former spouse has been seen engaging in activities that one would typically only partake in if living at the residence. While you might have your own observations here, consider speaking with other individuals who know your former spouse and maybe even neighbors.
- Consider bills: In many cohabitation cases, one individual keeps his or her name on the lease or mortgage of the residence while the other pitches in to help pay for things like electricity or the internet. This splitting of living expenses can be indicative of cohabitation. So, if you can, try to gather as much information as you can about the living arrangements at hand.
- Use of the same address: In many instances, cohabiting individuals use the same address for a variety of reasons. If your former spouse’s driver’s license has the address of a love interest, for example, then you can make a stronger case for cohabitation.
- Consider social media: Social media posts can tell a compelling story. If you can view your former spouse’s social media pages, then you might be able to see pictures and videos of him or her with his or her love interest. This evidence can help support a finding that cohabitation is occurring or, at the very least, that additional investigation into your former spouse’s living situation needs to be conducted.
Be thorough in protecting your interests
Issues pertaining to spousal support can be hotly contested, and for good reason. After all, there’s a lot on the line financially speaking in these matters. That’s why it’s important that you’re diligent in gathering the evidence that you need to support your position. That’s easier said than done, of course, which is why you’ll want to make sure that you fully understand the law and how it applies to your particular set of circumstances. Once you’ve done that, you can consider how you can gather the evidence that you need to make persuasive legal arguments. Hopefully then you can achieve the outcome that you deserve.