July 22, 2024


The Gods Made Home

Alimony Termination – The Three Rules of Cohabitation

Are you receiving or paying alimony or spousal support? Are you or your ex-husband or ex-wife “living with” a boyfriend or girlfriend? Then termination of spousal support or alimony due to cohabitation may be an issue for you.

Many judgments of divorce that include payment of alimony or spousal support include language that the alimony or spousal support will terminate if the payee (the ex-spouse receiving support) cohabits with another person of the opposite sex.

If your judgment of divorce contains this term, cohabit or cohabitation, and it does not define what that term actually means, then, in the State of Michigan, a divorce court will look at the following three factors to determine whether or not you may be able to terminate your alimony obligation or lose your right to the spousal support awarded to you:

  1. The court will consider the living arrangements of the couple and the extent to which they share a common residence.  The divorce court will focus on factors such as whether both keep personal items such as clothes and toiletries at the residence and how long they have been doing so.
  2. The court will consider the couple’s personal relationship and whether it appears relatively permanent.  The divorce court will look at such factors as whether the couple engages in sexual relations, vacation or spend holidays together, are monogamous and whether or not marriage has been contemplated.
  3. The court will consider the couple’s financial arrangements.  The divorce court will look at such factors as whether the couple share expenses or whether one party supports the other.

The divorce court should not focus on any one of these factors but review the totality of the circumstances of each particular case.

If the above factors apply to you or your ex-spouse, then you should be aware that you may file a motion or your ex-spouse may file a motion to terminate alimony or spousal support. This is a complicated legal issue which will require testimony and argument in court. You should contact an attorney to represent you if you want to prevail.