How is cohabitation defined under the amended alimony statute in NJ?
The amended alimony statute which was signed into law on September 10, 2015 defines cohabitation as a “mutually supportive intimate personal relationship” whereas the parties have taken on “duties and privileges that are commonly associated with marriage.”
Does a person have to maintain a single household with their paramour in order for a court to find cohabitation in NJ?
The amended alimony statute states that two people do not have to maintain a single common household in order for a court to find cohabitation.
What happens if a court finds cohabitation in New Jersey?
The amended statute states that alimony may be “suspended or terminated” if a court finds cohabitation. Previously, case law in New Jersey stated that a court had the option to modify as well as terminate alimony upon cohabitation. However, under the amended statute it seems a court in New Jersey only has two options if it finds cohabitation, which are to suspend or terminate alimony. Modification of alimony seems to no longer be an option.
What factors will a court in New Jersey consider in determining if there is cohabitation?
- Whether the couple have entwined finances;
- Whether the couple have joint responsibility or share of living expenses;
- Whether there is an acknowledgement of the relationship by the couple’s friends and family circle;
- Whether the couple reside together, span of the relationship, the constancy of contact, and other indications of a jointly supportive intimate personal relationship;
- Sharing of chores by the couple;
- Whether the individual collecting alimony received an enforceable promise of support from another individual;
- Any other relevant proof.
Is the length of the couple’s relationship a relevant factor in a NJ cohabitation case?
A court in determining whether cohabitation exists or if it should suspend or terminate alimony will consider the length of the relationship.
As shown above, cohabitation cases are very fact sensitive. There is a lot at stake for the payor and payee of alimony in an alleged cohabitation case. For the payee, the loss of alimony could be a financial catastrophe if a court finds cohabitation. For the payor if a court finds cohabitation it could be the end of a financially burdensome obligation. Therefore, it is important to pick the right attorney. Peter Van Aulen concentrates in divorce and family law. Mr. Van Aulen has been a lawyer for over twenty-three years. He is certified as a matrimonial attorney by the New Jersey Supreme Court, a distinction given to a very limit number of attorneys. He was also included in the “Super Lawyers” list for 2015, published by Thomson Reuters, and is a member of Rue Ratings Best Attorneys of America.
Peter Van Aulen’s office is located in Saddle Brook, New Jersey. His office is near Route 80, New Jersey Parkway, New Jersey Turnpike and Route 17. Said location makes it an easy commute from most towns in Northern New Jersey. If you are facing a NJ cohabitation case and have questions, call the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen at (201) 845 -7400 today for a free initial consultation.