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If an Ex Spouse Starts Living With Another Can You Terminate Spousal Support

On Behalf of | Dec 7, 2021 | Spousal Support

If an ex spouse starts living with another can you terminate spousal support payments?  Permanent spousal support is frequently ordered for a specified time or until a specified event, e.g. death or remarriage.  If the recipient of spousal support after an Carlsbad or San Diego divorce cohabits with a member of the opposite sex then the legislature has indicated that support may be adjustable or terminated.

There is no automatic process to adjust or terminate spousal support just because the supported spouse is now living with another partner unless the parties previously agreed in writing that such circumstance caused a specified result.  Family Code Section 4323 provides ” … 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. Upon a determination that circumstances have changed, the court may modify or terminate the spousal support …”

The statute goes on to answer some frequently asked questions related to the issue: “Holding oneself out to be the husband or wife of the person with whom one is cohabiting is not necessary to constitute cohabitation…”.  So the party wanting to terminate or reduce support is required to bring a motion to seek and adjustment of spousal support unless the parties agree otherwise.  When the Court looks at the matter the Court will assume there is now a lesser need for spousal support but that assumption can be proved to be invalid by the cohabiting spouse.

Interestingly, the legislature does not suggest that cohabiting with a same gender person, whether it is a love interest or not, impacts the financial ‘needs’ of the supported spouse.

Most people are not obviously skilled or adept at introducing evidence and proving facts in a complex case.  If you are wondering if your ex spouse starts living with another can you terminate spousal support you need the advice and counsel of the experienced Certified Family Law Specialists at Burke & Domercq.  Protect your own interests and contact us or call 760-389-3927 to schedule an appointment for a remote or socially distanced consultation with one of our experienced Certified Family Law Specialists.