The Biggest Mistake After Being Awarded Spousal Support

So you’re divorced, or you have filed for divorce.  You are receiving spousal support and think it’s about time you moved on with your life.  On your quest to move on with your life you decide that you are moving in with the person you are currently dating.  Sounds like a great plan because you can save money by sharing rent and expense, right? Not so much.

While this may sound like a good idea, you should be aware that this could have a huge (very huge) impact on the spousal support you are receiving.  Family Code Section 4323 states, “Except as otherwise agreed to by the parties in writing, there is a rebuttable presumption, affecting the burden of proof, of decreased need for spousal support if the supported party is cohabiting with a person of the opposite sex.  Upon a determination that circumstances have changed, the court may modify or terminate the spousal support.”

What this means for you is that moving in with the person you are dating is likely going to be the end of your spousal support payments.  Note that while the code says “opposite sex” that is no longer the requirement and this applies to same sex couples as well.  The Court and public policy feel that if you are sharing expenses with the person you are dating, then your expenses are reduced and someone is helping to support you.  Your ex-spouse shouldn’t have to keep paying you support when you now live with someone else who is also helping to support you.  So if you’re receiving spousal support, you may want to reconsider moving in with your new boyfriend/girlfriend.

In the alternative, if you are paying your ex-spouse spousal support and he/she has just moved in with the person they are dating, I would highly recommend talking to an attorney to see if you are able to terminate or modify the spousal support you are paying him/her.

Additionally, if you get a roommate that you are not dating and you receive spousal support, you may leave yourself open to accusations that you no longer need support.  While there is a rebuttable presumption of a decreased need for support, you are stuck with the burden of proving that you aren’t in a romantic relationship with your roommate and that the relationship is platonic.

 

If you need help modifying your spousal support, please feel free to call us.