No Cohabitation Rules on a Divorce Decree

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    Custody

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      The non-custodial parent of a minor child will sometimes request a no cohabitation clause if they feel their former spouse is involved with someone who is potentially dangerous to the child. In this instance, the judge will require proof as to why this person's presence is dangerous. If there is no potential danger and both parents agree there should be no cohabitation while the minor child is present, it can be included.

    Alimony

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      Alimony is often a contentious subject in a divorce. When a former spouse is ordered to pay alimony, the contract will usually include termination events that are considered cause for termination of continued spousal support. These events include remarriage of the spouse receiving alimony, the death of either party and the cohabitation of the person receiving alimony for a specific length of time.

    Ambiguity

    • Whether cohabitation is evident is determined based on many considerations including level of intimacy, amount of consecutive days in which the new partner remained at the house and financial interdependence. These considerations vary depending on the state judicial system and not all stipulations are required to determine cohabitation exists. The New York Court of Appeals determined in Graev v. Graev that economic interdependence is not a consideration, because the party receiving alimony can reject any financial contributions from their partner to continue to receive support and in some instances can even seek more support from their former spouse. In Florida,the laws were modified in 2005 to authorize courts to reduce or terminate alimony in the instance when the recipient receives support from their partner with whom they cohabitate.

    Termination

    • There was a time when the only thing that could terminate an alimony obligation was marriage or death. Today, more and more people prefer to cohabitate prior to marriage, and the no cohabitation clause is now the typical recourse for those who want to set further limits to their alimony obligation. Even where there is solid evidence of cohabitation in violation of the clause, alimony payments must be continued until officially terminated by the courts.

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