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The affect of cohabitation on alimony

On Behalf of | Oct 13, 2020 | Divorce In Tennessee |

If you were the primary income earner in your marital home in Tennessee, then if and when you divorce, you may not have an issue helping to support your ex-spouse financially as they transition into their post-divorce life. What you do not want, however, is for them to take advantage of you.

Many of the clients that come to us here at The Waldrop Firm, P.C. find themselves in situations where their ex-spouse’s attempt to exploit their situations in order to keep them obligated to continue paying them alimony (such as choosing to cohabitate with a new romantic partner rather than remarrying). If this scenario sounds all too familiar to you, then you should know what recourse might be available to you through local law.

Modifying an alimony obligation due to cohabitation

Section 36-5-121 of Tennessee’s Domestic Relations Code states that if you pay alimony to your ex-spouse and you discover that they have entered into a cohabitating supportive relationship, upon presenting this fact to the court, it presumes one of two things: either your ex-spouse also enjoys the financial support of their new partner or that new partner relies on the support you provide them, as well. in either event, the court views such a situation as a significant enough of a change to warrant modifying your obligation (or ending it altogether).

Proving your ex-spouse is in a supportive relationship

In this scenario, the burden of proof may fall to you to prove that your ex-spouse’s new relationship is supportive. Factors that can support this include:

  • The degree to which the two intermingle their finances
  • Whether the two have made significant purchases together
  • The degree to which the new partner meets their daily expenses if they live together

You can find more information on managing your alimony obligation throughout our site.

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