How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Barrister Your Own Question

Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 23144
Experience:  Attorney with 14 years experience
19958803
Type Your Family Law Question Here...
Barrister is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

What is the legal definition of cohabitation in the state of

Resolved Question:

What is the legal definition of cohabitation in the state of Washington?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
Hello and thank you for using JA! My goal is to provide you with excellent service and help with your legal problem.
.
Is this in regards XXXXX XXXXX type of alimony or spousal support in a divorce situation where one ex is living with a boy/girlfriend?
.
.
Thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Yes! Divorced in 2006; ex "awarded" $4000/mo in alimony/spousal support, reduced by court in 2009 by half. Presiding judge in 2nd hearing had never, until that time, tried a case in family law, and I believe his ruling was flawed, as a case was presented during the hearing (virtually identical to mine) that demonstrated precedence in which NO alimony was due. Am contemplating returning to court and/or filing a motion to vacate this judge's ruling but am very concerned about spending thousand$,, to not only get nowhere, but forced to pay even more alimony.

Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
Ok, so were you married to the other person and want to modify or extinguish the amount?
.
Or are you seeking to terminate any spousal support based on the ex living with someone else now?
.
.
Thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Have provided you with more than ample information to at least initially address this issue. Please reply.

Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
I was waiting on the responses to my last two questions. You may not have seen them so I will post them again below:
.
Ok, so were you married to the other person and want to modify or extinguish the amount?
.
Or are you seeking to terminate any spousal support based on the ex living with someone else now?
.
.
Thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Am having computer problems - will try again. Was married 38 years; ex had an affair for the last 2 years of the marriage, and upon my discovery, asked her to leave. She continued the relationship, in Feb 2006, by going to the Seattle are with him, where she remains to this day (confirmed by private detective); the condo where they currently cohabitate is vested in his name, and they share expenses and household duties, etc. For all intents and purposes, they are married. Went to court in mid-2006 to divorce the ex, who was "awarded" $4000/mo (each month paid on-time and in-full). Returned to court in mid-2009 to attempt a reduction or elimination of alimony; judge had never heard a family case (was a juvenile court magistrate) and asked virtually no relevant questions, even though a case (virtually identical to mine) was presented to him that showed ample precedent. He ruled "safely" by reducing alimony by 50%. Need to know if I should try again, spend thou$and$, with all the mental anguish, to do a crapshoot. Your help would be most appreciated! Pete.

Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
Ok, I see your additional info. Give me a little while to research the applicable WA laws on cohabitation and see what they say about terminating support based on it.
.
.
Thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Thank you!!

Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
Ok, after looking around, I don't see anything that specifically states that in WA, cohabitation is grounds for terminating spousal support. With that said, you would have to look at the actual order that awards maintenance to see if it had any language in it that specifically stated that it would terminate upon cohabitation. If it doesn't say anything at all, then I would opine that co-habitation may be grounds to terminate based on the idea that spousal support is intended for the pupose of supporting an ex until they are able to support and maintain themselves. It is not intended to be lifetime support if the ex is able to work and earn their own income to support themselves.
.
Further, if she is living with somoene else and mingling their assets and essentially living as if married without a formal marriage, then it is circumventing the purpose of the support. Judges don't like that when one person is abusing the privilege of receiving support for a purpose for which it wasn't intended.
.
Washington doesn't have a definition of "cohabitation" but they instead use the term "meritricious relationship". The term "meretricious relationship" is term of art in Washington, and has been defined as "a stable, marital-like relationship where both parties cohabit with knowledge that a lawful marriage between them does not exist." Connell v. Francisco, 127 Wash.2d 339, 346 (1995). There are several factors that the court will consider when determining whether or not a relationship meets the meretricious definition that are looked at on a case by case basis. These include:
.
The length of the relationship
The time the parties have cohabitated continuously
The nature of the relationship
The extent to which funds and assets have been commingled
The intent of the parties in question
.
.
With that said, I would opine that if you could convince a judge that they are essentially married without a lawful marriage, you would have a good argument to either further reduce or entirely eliminate any further spousal support.
.

.

.

Thanks.

Barrister

.

Please don't forget to rate my service "OK" or higher. It is only then that I receive credit for my work.

.

If you need further help, just reply to me via the “REPLY” or “CONTINUE CONVERSATION” button and I will be happy to continue.

.

I cannot enter into an attorney client relationship, this is a public forum, and all posts are available for public viewing. There is no duty of confidentiality that attaches to any posts. The information provided is not a substitute for a local attorney’s legal advice.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Thank you for your response(s)! Was having big trouble w/my computer and was unable to log on until now. Perhaps I forgot to mention ... even though my ex is cohabitating with her boyfriend in Washington State (for 7 years), the divorce was heard and granted in Indio (Riverside County), California. Does this factor have a bearing to your answer? Thanks again; I'll do your survey shortly (EXCELLENT!).

Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
Well yes, that kind of makes everything about WA that I posted not relevant because if the divorce was in CA, CA law controls....
.
The good thing is that CA has clearer laws on this. Family Code section 4323(a)(1) provides that "there is a rebuttable presumption, affecting the burden of proof, of decreased need for spousal support if the supported party is cohabiting with a person of the opposite sex...". If your former spouse is in a romantic relationship and cohabitating with that person, that may be enough to seek a reduction or even elimination of your alimony payments.
.

.

.

Thanks.

Barrister

.

Please don't forget to rate my service "OK" or higher. It is only then that I receive credit for my work.

.

If you need further help, just reply to me via the “REPLY” or “CONTINUE CONVERSATION” button and I will be happy to continue.

.

I cannot enter into an attorney client relationship, this is a public forum, and all posts are available for public viewing. There is no duty of confidentiality that attaches to any posts. The information provided is not a substitute for a local attorney’s legal advice.

Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 23144
Experience: Attorney with 14 years experience
Barrister and 3 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Not only did he answer my Michigan divorce question but was also able to help me out with it, too. I have since won my legal case on this matter and thank you so much for it. Lee Michigan
< Last | Next >
  • Not only did he answer my Michigan divorce question but was also able to help me out with it, too. I have since won my legal case on this matter and thank you so much for it. Lee Michigan
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Ely

    Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    8085
    Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RA/ratioscripta/2012-6-13_2955_foto3.64x64.jpg Ely's Avatar

    Ely

    Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    8085
    Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/LA/LawTalk/2012-6-6_17379_LawTalk.64x64.JPG LawTalk's Avatar

    LawTalk

    Attorney and Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    6424
    27+ years legal experience. I remain current in Family Law through regular continuing education.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/FL/FLAandNYLawyer/2012-1-27_14349_3Fotolia25855429M.64x64.jpg FiveStarLaw's Avatar

    FiveStarLaw

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    6336
    25 years of experience helping people like you.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/dkaplun/2009-05-17_173121_headshot_1_2.jpg Dimitry K., Esq.'s Avatar

    Dimitry K., Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    5987
    I provide family and divorce law advice to my clients in my firm.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MU/multistatelaw/2011-11-27_173951_Tinaglamourshotworkglow102011.64x64.jpg Tina's Avatar

    Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    5773
    JD, 15 years legal experience including family law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BrianTMayer/2010-01-06_200119_BM.jpg Brandon M.'s Avatar

    Brandon M.

    Family Law Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    3810
    Attorney experienced in all aspects of family law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/TU/TUSA/2012-6-6_55219_test.64x64.png Thoreau (T-USA)'s Avatar

    Thoreau (T-USA)

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    2634
    Attorney