After a couple finalizes a divorce, both parties begin the process of moving on with their respective lives. With that process comes dating, living together, and possible remarriage. However, if the terms of the divorce settlement or court order include an award of alimony for one party, he or she must think long and hard about how to navigate a new relationship. The purpose of alimony is to ensure that the reasonable needs of the person who is unable to support himself or herself through employment are met. The amount a former spouse pays to the other is based on the standard of living that the couple enjoyed during their marriage.
Pennsylvania law dictates that following a divorce, if the party receiving alimony "cohabitation" with another person, he or she will no longer be able to receive alimony. According to the law, cohabitation is defined by the circumstances by which the alleged cohabitating party is living. The courts take into consideration factors such as financial, social, and sexual interdependence" and by "sharing of the same residence and by other means."
If your court order or settlement agreement includes an alimony award and you are considering a new living arrangement with a love interest, it is important that you speak with a knowledgeable family law attorney prior to doing so. If you do not, you may forfeit your rights to receive alimony in the future. Similarly, if you are currently paying alimony and suspect your former spouse is cohabitating with a new partner, he or she may be barred from receiving alimony. If one of these circumstances applies to you, please contact our family law practice to discuss your case.