Reducing or Terminating Alimony Payments After Cohabitation


Pasadena divorce law makes the legal presumption that an alimony recipient needs less financial support once he or she starts cohabitating, unless there are extenuating circumstances. However, the paying spouse who is requesting a reduction or termination of payments is the one who must provide proof that the alimony recipient's situation has changed significantly.

Proving that a couple is living together is not always easy, but there are certain signs that a judge will consider as evidence of a cohabiting relationship. For example, even if your ex’s new romantic partner maintains a separate residence, they may be considered cohabitating if they spend three or more consecutive nights together in a given week or act in a way that is otherwise similar to that of a married couple. Evidence of a committed romantic relationship is considered proof of a supportive partnership that would reduce the financial dependence of the alimony recipient on his or her former spouse.

Bills placed in both party’s names, such as cell phone bills, utility bills, or car payments, are another significant sign of cohabitation as long as the two parties are also romantically involved. A simple platonic roommate relationship in which parties are sharing living expenses as a cost-cutting measure would not qualify for the purpose of reducing alimony.

Copies of shared billing statements or cell phone tower data records can be used to provide proof of cohabitation, as can private surveillance or credible witness testimony. Your attorney can help you explore various options for proving cohabitation as a way to reduce or eliminate alimony payments. However, you must consider the cost and possible benefit when deciding if fighting to have your alimony reduced or terminated is a smart decision. If your payments are minimal and already set to automatically expire at some point, the cost of litigation may not be equivalent to the potential savings.

How Can We Help?

If you have questions about California’s alimony laws, please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at Our Pasadena family law attorneys have extensive experience handling issues relating to spousal support after a divorce.