If you’ve been ordered to pay alimony to your ex, there may be language in the marital settlement agreement that allows you to terminate maintenance early. Maintenance termination typically only occurs when the recipient dies or gets married. However, if your former spouse enters into a marriage-like relationship, you may also be able to terminate alimony early.
Proving that your ex is cohabiting can be a challenge, and the burden of proof lies on you, the paying party. You do have a few options when trying to prove that your ex is playing house with someone new.
Consult with an Attorney
The first step is to consult with your attorney on the issue. He or she can walk you through the things you should be on the lookout for after the divorce. An attorney may also inform you that cohabitation will not end your obligations, as some states only terminate alimony when the former spouse remarries.
Gather as Much Evidence as You Can
The burden of proof will fall on you, the spouse who is paying alimony. Therefore, it is up to you to gather as much evidence as you possibly can to prove that your ex is cohabiting. There are a few simple and inexpensive ways to do this:
- Public Records Request: Request records for your ex’s address from all law enforcement agencies in the area. These records will provide you with the names of the persons living at the address a well as details of police involvement (if applicable).
- Subpoena: With the help of your lawyer, you can issue a subpoena to utility companies, banks or landlords to find out whose names are on leasing agreements, loan applications, etc. This can help prove that your ex’s new significant other is contributing to the bills, and therefore, is in a marriage-like relationship with your former spouse.
- Social Media: Oftentimes, you can gather sufficient evidence to prove your ex’s relationship right on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. Be prepared to screenshot and/or print pictures as you discover them. If your ex becomes aware that the alimony may be terminated, he or she may be more careful at hiding the relationship.
Hire a PI
If none of the above options will provide you with enough evidence, consider hiring a private investigator (PI). A PI can be costly, but will help you prove that your ex is cohabiting.
A private investigator will keep an eye on your ex, documenting where your former spouse goes and who appears to be living at the home. If a car is parked in front of the home for extended hours several days throughout the week, this is a tell-tale sign that the individual is living in the home.
Hiring a PI may also save you from harassment or stalking charges in the long run if you decide to surveillance your ex and get caught.
Proving that your ex is cohabiting can be challenging, but an attorney can walk you through the process and assist you in gathering the proof you need.
The Micklin Law Group, LLC is a New Jersey law firm focusing on family law. Attorney Brad Micklin was recently named to The National Advocates list of Top 100 attorneys from each state. To set up a consultation, call 973-562-0100.