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Proving cohabitation with alimony on the line

New Mexico residents that pay or receive alimony may wonder how cohabitation plays into the equation. Unlike a remarriage, which can be easily shown with a copy of the marriage certificate, it can be difficult for an ex-spouse to obtain proof of cohabitation with a new partner. Some people will deny the new relationship, knowing that the former spouse does not have the means to hire a private investigator to prove it.

Typically, a judge will terminate spousal support payments if it can be shown that the spouse receiving the funds is in a relationship similar to marriage, such that the support of the ex-spouse is no longer required. When seeking to terminate alimony based on cohabitation, it must be shown that there is a social and financial interdependence that puts the partners in a relationship similar to marriage. The judge will consider a variety of factors, including whether the partners live together and share utility bills or food bills. It could also be relevant who cooks, cleans, or does yard work. In addition, a judge may consider whether the people in question are in an exclusive relationship and hold themselves out to the community as a couple.

One way to gather evidence is to hire a private investigator to look for evidence that both people are at the same residence late at night and first thing in the morning, suggesting an overnight stay. Social media posts and pictures can also help prove cohabitation.

A family law attorney may be able to help seek bank statements, cell phone bills, utility bills, leases and other documents that can be used as evidence of cohabitation. It may then be possible for an attorney to use this information to file for a termination of alimony.

Source: The Huffington Post , "He Said/She Said: How to Demonstrate Cohabitation in an Alimony Dispute", Diane Danois , February 21, 2014

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