Cohabitation After Divorce: What You Need to Know

Are you worried about cohabitation after divorce?

This area of family law can be a complex one, which means it’s really important to have all the facts before you make any big decisions.

Many individuals who have found a new partner after breaking up with their spouse have serious concerns about how cohabitation will affect things like spousal maintenance payments, division of goods and their rights in a divorce.

This blog will help to answer a few common questions, so you can get the facts straight before you move on.

Will cohabiting with a new partner affect the outcome of my divorce settlement?

It’s highly likely that cohabitation with a new partner will influence the outcome of your divorce settlement. In fact, even actively and openly dating can be problematic during a divorce, leading some family court judges to see your financial and romantic future as stable, thereby minimising your claim to spousal maintenance.

Cohabitation, meanwhile, is a clear indication to judges that your financial future is stable and supported, irrespective of the facts. In short, moving in with someone new while undergoing a divorce will negatively impact your chance of recieving the maintence, assets and goods you feel you are entitled to.

Will I lose my spousal or child maintenance payments if I move in with a new partner?

In short, no. No matter how long you have been living with a new partner, your ex-spouse is still obligated to pay maintenance, unless there is a clear stipulation in your court order that payments will stop when you cohabit with a new partner or remarry. Child support is even more set in stone.

If you are being financially supported by your new partner, your ex-spouse can apply to the court with evidence of this in order to have your spousal maintenance payments terminated.

Do I have to continue to make spousal maintenance payments if my ex-spouse moves in with a new partner?

Yes you do. Unless it has been expressly stipulated in your court order that payments will stop should your ex-spouse begin cohabiting with a new partner, you will need to continue paying maintenance, however frustrating the situation may seem.

If the circumstances appear to be unfair, and your ex-spouse is now being supported financially by their new partner, you can apply to the court to terminate your maintenance payments. To have payments terminated, you will need evidence that your ex-spouse is receiving financial support from their new “other half”.

My ex-spouse has a new partner who “stays over” but does not cohabit – where do I stand?

In cases where a divorce agreement stipulates that maintenance payments will end when the ex-spouse receiving them cohabits with a new partner for a set amount of time, things can become a little cloudy.

Some individuals who are aware of the rules will seek to avoid technically “cohabiting” to avoid losing maintenance payments. This can involve ensuring their new partner stays no more than 3 nights a week, despite a long-term relationship. In these cases its very difficult to prove that your ex-spouse is being supported by their new partner and its wise to seek legal advice to help argue your case.

Do you have more questions about cohabitation after divorce?

Our family law specialists are always happy to help. Get in touch today for a free, no obligation consultation. Please call us now on 0333 12 12345 (International callers +44 1992 505 406), complete a Free Online Enquiry or email info@betteridges.com and we will soon be in touch.

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