The obligation to pay alimony automatically ends when the supported spouse remarries, unless there is an agreement between the parties specifically stating the payments will continue or if alimony was paid in a lump sum or by transfer of property.
If a supported spouse is living with someone else or has an increased income, the paying spouse could ask for an end to alimony or a reduction and if that doesn’t work, a court order could be sought. A motion seeking that order would need to explain how the circumstances changed and why a decrease or termination of alimony is justified.
- There is a rebuttable presumption in California law that alimony can be lowered and potentially ended if the supported spouse is proven to be cohabiting with a person of the opposite sex.
- This would have to be more than a roommate relationship involved, normally requiring a personal romantic relationship.
- The allegation the supported spouse is cohabitating with someone of the opposite sex may be disputed and would have to be shown by the moving party.
- The court will presume alimony should be reduced or terminated with a cohabitation unless the supported spouse can prove a continuing need for alimony payments after he or she began living with someone of the opposite sex.
- If it’s just a roommate situation, not a cohabitation, the court could still decide the need for support has decreased and alimony could still be modified.
- The court won’t consider the income of the person with whom the supported spouse is living when deciding whether to lower or end alimony, only the supported spouse’s new financial circumstances.
If you are paying or receiving spousal support and remarriage or cohabitation has become an issue, contact our office through our evaluation form so we can start to discuss the facts of the situation and how the law could impact your spousal support payments.
For additional information please review the information available on the civil restraining orders and domestic violence restraining orders sections of our site at or contact the Divorce Attorneys at Fischer & Van Thiel LLP at (760) 722-7646.