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I'm divorced and receive alimony, it says I can not

I'm divorced and receive alimony...
I'm divorced and receive alimony, it says I can not cohabitate....but if I move in with my boyfriend and he does not pay for me can I still receive alimony? I make very little money and my ex makes a good living...we were married for 20 years.
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Answered in 34 minutes by:
7/21/2017
ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
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When you say "it says" you cannot cohabitate, do you mean a marriage settlement agreement or other contract?

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
In my divorce settlement it was 10 years ago....I'm 51 and will receive alimony until the age of 65.

Thank you for that additional information. Please give me a few minutes while I type a response. I am still here with you, but it does take a bit of time to type a complete response.

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Thank you for your patience. Your ex could have a good case for filing a case to stop alimony, for the reasons below:

“Section § 46b-86(b) is commonly known as the cohabitation statute in actions for divorce. Cushman v. Cushman, 93 Conn. App. 186, 198, 88 A.2d 156 (2006). In accordance with the statute, ‘before the payment of alimony can be modified or terminated [on cohabitation grounds], two requirements must be established. First, it must be shown that the party receiving the alimony is cohabit[ing] with another individual. If it is proven that there is cohabitation, the party seeking to alter the terms of the alimony payments must then establish that the recipient’s financial needs have been altered as a result of the cohabitation’.” Lehan v. Lehan, 118 Conn. App. 685, 695, 985 A.2d 378 (2010).

Section 46b-86 (b) does not use the word cohabitation. The legislature instead ‘chose the broader language of `living with another person' rather than `cohabitation'. . . .’ Because, however, ‘living with another’ person without financial benefit did not establish sufficient reason to refashion an award of alimony under General Statutes § 46b-81, the legislature imposed the additional requirement that the party making alimony payments prove that the living arrangement has resulted in a change in circumstances that alters the financial needs of the alimony recipient. Therefore, this additional requirement, in effect, serves as a limitation. Pursuant to § 46b-86 (b), the nonmarital union must be one with attendant financial consequences before the trial court may alter an award of alimony.” DeMaria v. DeMaria, 247 Conn. 715, 720, 724 A.2d 1088 (1999).

Here's that specific provision: § 46b-86(b) In an action for divorce, dissolution of marriage, legal separation or annulment brought by a spouse, in which a final judgment has been entered providing for the payment of periodic alimony by one party to the other spouse, the Superior Court may, in its discretion and upon notice and hearing, modify such judgment and suspend, reduce or terminate the payment of periodic alimony upon a showing that the party receiving the periodic alimony is living with another person under circumstances which the court finds should result in the modification, suspension, reduction or termination of alimony because the living arrangements cause such a change of circumstances as to alter the financial needs of that party. In the event that a final judgment incorporates a provision of an agreement in which the parties agree to circumstances, other than as provided in this subsection, under which alimony will be modified, including suspension, reduction, or termination of alimony, the court shall enforce the provision of such agreement and enter orders in accordance therewith.

So the agreement changes the general understanding that there is a financial impact of living together (because "cohabitating" does not specifically require that there be a financial benefit or impact). Rather, the question is whether or not you're actually cohabitating (which doesn't require financial impact for the reasons above).

“Cohabitation is a dwelling together of man and woman in the same place in the manner of husband and wife.” Wolk v. Wolk, 191 Conn. 328, 332, 464 A.2d 780 (1983).  “As is readily apparent, the word is not inflexible nor is it one of strict or narrow meaning.” DeMaria v. DeMaria, 247 Conn. 715, 720, 724 A.2d 1088 (1999). “In support of his first argument, the plaintiff cites the definition, adopted by our Supreme Court in Wolk v. Wolk, 191 Conn. 328, 332, 464 A.2d 780 (1983), that ‘[c]ohabitation is a dwelling together of man and woman in the same place in the manner of husband and wife.’ The plaintiff apparently interprets the phrase ‘in the manner of husband and wife’ to suggest that cohabitation is for all intents and purposes synonymous with marriage, and that cohabitation raises all of the same presumptions regarding the treatment of assets as does marriage. Such an interpretation, however, would essentially transform cohabitation into common-law marriage, contrary to the refusal of this state to recognize such relationships. See McAnerney v. McAnerney, 165 Conn. 277, 285, 334 A.2d 437 (1973) (‘[a]lthough other jurisdictions may recognize common-law marriage or accord legal consequences to informal marriage relationships, Connecticut definitely does not. . . . It follows that although two persons cohabit and conduct themselves as a married couple, our law neither grants to nor imposes upon them marital status’ [citations omitted]). ‘[C]ohabitation alone does not create any contractual relationship or, unlike marriage, impose other legal duties upon the parties.’ Boland v. Catalano, 202 Conn. 333, 339, 521 A.2d 142 (1987).” Herring v. Daniels, 70 Conn. App. 649, 655, 805 A.2d 718 (2002).

In short, cohabitating "in the same place in the manner of husband and wife" does not mean undertaking the same requirements and responsibilities of husband and wife, but rather as a romantic couple living together as a husband and wife would do.

In the absence of the agreement, it would be harder for him to win such a case unless he could show a financial impact (which even then could be possible if you're splitting expenses, etc...) but with the agreement, it only requires showing of cohabitation.

Now it's possible that the court might not agree that this is cohabitation, and I never said it was a slam dunk. But I did say that it was a strong case that he could make for the reasons that I gave above, so there would be a risk on your part if you were to do this.

I know this is probably not what you wanted to hear, but it is the law. I hope that clears things up anyway. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable.

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