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Proving cohabitation in alimony cases

When a married couple files for divorce, a judge may order one of the parties to make monthly spousal support payments to the other party. Alimony payments will sometimes end after a set period of time, which may be determined by the length of a marriage. An ex-spouse's remarriage to another person will also terminate the spousal support obligation. In Connecticut, alimony payments may also be stopped when the recipient begins cohabitating with another person.

Proving that an ex-spouse is living with a new significant other may be challenging. In order to continue receiving spousal support payments, some individuals may try to deny that they have moved in with someone else. In these circumstances, the burden will fall on the provider of support to show that his or her ex is no longer entitled to receive this support. But, cohabitation is not the only factor to prove. A payer must also prove their ex-spouse is sharing bills or child custody arrangements with their new partner.

An individual may need to show the court evidence that the ex has a continual pattern of sleeping overnight at another person's house. Cell phone technology may make it easier to track an ex-spouse's location.

If the cell tower location data can be obtained for someone suspected of cohabitating with a new partner, this data may be used to refute the individual's claims that he or she is living alone or living at an address that does not match the records. Cell tower location data is likely to be more cost-effective than other tracking measures, and the data from cell phones may be stored for multiple years, making it easier to compile evidence of nightly whereabouts. Discussing their options with a divorce attorney may be in the best interest of an alimony payer who suspects that their ex is living with someone else.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Using a Cell Phone to Show That Your Former Spouse Is Cohabiting", Diane L. Danois, J.D., January 24, 2014

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