When a spouse receives alimony, it is either a temporary measure that allows a spouse to continue the standard of living to which they are accustomed while the divorce is pending, or it is permanent, whether by court decree or through a negotiated settlement. Permanent, however, doesn’t mean that it is never-ending. There are circumstances in which a “permanent” spousal support arrangement may be terminated—and that includes remarriage.
Marriage or Cohabitation?
It is increasingly common for couples to live together, either by preference or until they decide to get married. If one partner has been awarded alimony, what happens? If you’re living with a member of the opposite sex and want to continue receiving spousal support, you will have to prove that:
- There is a continued need for spousal support
- That it is a roommate, and not a romantic, opposite-sex relationship
- Bills, such as rent and utilities, are shared in the manner of roommates
If the living arrangement is one of a man and a woman in a romantic relationship (for instance, living together as an engaged couple, or sharing income in the same manner as in a marriage), then it is likely the court will view it as a good reason to terminate alimony payments under rebuttal presumption.
In cases of remarriage, the obligation to pay alimony is automatically terminated. An exception would include an alimony settlement which specifically states that remarriage will not terminate spousal support. Also, if the remarriage is annulled for reasons such as coercion or insanity, the court may see fit to reinstate spousal support.
In some circumstances, the paying spouse may continue to pay alimony voluntarily, but there is no legal obligation to do so.
Modifying or Terminating Alimony in California
If you are paying alimony and your former spouse is living with someone else on a romantic basis, or has an increase in income, you can request a reduction or elimination of alimony. If your former spouse does not agree to the reduction, you will need to file a motion to modify spousal support with the court where your divorce was granted. The goal is to state the change in circumstances and why that justifies a change or termination of spousal support. A knowledgeable California spousal support lawyer can guide you through this process.
Find Out More About How California Alimony is Affected by Remarriage
Whether you are paying or receiving spousal support, remarriage or cohabitation may have a big impact on your financial situation. For more information on divorce and alimony in the Hollister, Monterey, or Gilroy areas, please call Giuliano Law at (831) 372-4003 or contact us online .