I live in Washington State my spouse and I are divorced and I pay spousal support for 5 years or until my wife remarries. My wife is now living in BC Canada with her new partener. Canada is a common law state where there is common law marriage. am I still obligated to continue to pay spousal support?
State/Country relating to question: Washington
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Have they lived together for at least two years?
Most likely not, but you should certainly get court permission to stop. That is, you should file a motion to modify the spousal support award based upon this new occurrence. Even though Washington is not a common law marriage state, it will recognize common law marriages entered into in other states, and generally in other countries so long as it does not violate the public policy of the State of Washington. In British Columbia, a person who has lived and cohabited with another person, for a period of at least two years is considered a common law spouse, unless one or both of them were married to another person during this time, according to the "Estate Administration Act". If the other person that she's living with is also not married, then that would be such a situation, and a Washington court would almost certainly see it that way.
But if you stop paying, and she were to challenge it, and the court finds that they're not common law married, etc... then you could be held in contempt (which is why you want to get permission first).
Understand...thank you this information is a big help.
One second, and I'll get you a link for the forms...
Apologies, but I could not find any forms online. I would suggest contacting the clerk of the court to see if they have modification forms and procedures there, or if they can point you in the right direction. Generally there will be a law library where you can find these forms. Basically you would want to file the modification petition, using the fact that she's living with this other unmarried individual as support, along with the BC law on common law marriage: http://www.leg.bc.ca/36th3rd/3rd_read/gov100-3.htm. The clerk of the court should be able to assist with the procedure that you will need to follow.
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thank you again
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